Bill Gottlieb on Bix. Bill did not like Bix. Bill had very poor taste.

by Albert Haim

Bill Gottlieb was a jazz photographer and critic. He wrote a weekly column for the Washington Post. Here is his column about Bix from Aug 10, 1941.

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Very little about Bix's music, mostly about the legend and, to make things worse, in the form of pretentious psychological analysis. Read this bit of cheap psychological crap by Gottlieb.

The name "Bix" is what it is today principally because Beiderbecke was the best answer for the demands of the early swing enthusiasts who, without consciously knowing it, needed a fabulous human symbol to help sell their enthusiasm to others.

Gottlieb does not realize that the Bix legend includes not only the man but also his music. Gottlieb shows no understanding of Bix's music. He mentions only Whiteman, and in a rather derogatory manner. Of course, Bix was phenomenal with Whiteman, but there were also the Wolverines, Goldkette, Tram, the Gang and more. We know better. Get a load of the enormity of Gottlieb's evaluation of Bix's standing as a musician.

Nor for that matter is Bix a towering figure in jazz by regular standards. 

What are "regular standards"? Poor writing under the guise of insight.

And Gottlieb demeans Bix  by asserting that

His classically simple horn was subtle enough to challenge the imagination and make a fan feel like he knew the password to some esoteric society once he "caught on" to Bix. 

Gottlieb makes Bix into a snake oil artist selling the listener a bill of goods. Preposterous.


Posted on Apr 22, 2012, 3:35 PM

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