Bix in integrated jam session in St. Louis 1925-26

by phil schaap

I believe the Bix and Lonnie Johnson posting relates to a story - told a few ways - from the great Pops Foster. In the version I heard - the main theme for Foster was that Bix was a pianist, not a trumpeter - went as follows.
The excursion boat had ported in St. Louis and the musicians were briefly at liberty. Foster and other Black musicians from the boat's band went into St. Louis and were going around late in the morning, when they heard some very great Jazz coming from a building. Pops and a few of the others ran towards the place intending to join the fun. Looking through a window, Pops was somewhat surprised that the jamming Jazzers were white. Being in a segregated Civil War border state, they did not assume that they could just go in. But musician(s) inside spotted them and wave to them to come in and join. Bix was at the piano and Pops Foster stated he played great. Somebody interjected: could this be the Arcadia and the Trumbauer musicians? Pops, while not denying it, could not recall. His main point: Bix was a pianist and Foster had seen that as plain as day before Beiderbecke became known.

Posted on Oct 21, 2017, 8:10 AM

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