Ralph Berton’s “Remembering Bix”

I am enjoying reading this fantastic book. Written by someone who knew and idolized Bix, it’s his biography of this larger than life musician.


Upon hearing Bix live for the first time, Ralph writes:

“Superimposed on its hot, swinging beat was a coolly logical structure coherent in form as a Mozart sonata, a crystal lattice seen under an electron microscope. The melodic line had a beginning, a middle, and an end; the beginning moved, like Act One of a well-made play, straight toward its logical climax in Act Three; the beginning implied the end, the end was an inevitable comment on the beginning. Within that structure each part implied the whole, each individual phrase partook of the same cool, consistent style, each partial episode had its own little surprise denouement – and all fitted together like – I was about to say like a fine Swiss watch, except that in its inspired blending of the ingeniously intricate and beautifully simple there was nothing of the mechanical ; its symmetry was functional, organic, the symmetry of a seashell, an opened leaf – and it had that kind of freshness too, the freshness of something just born and never to be duplicated, like a new daybreak, each idea flowing as inexorably out of the previous one as the sequent rills in a running brook, effortless and graceful as the motion of a waterfall, a field of grain ruffled by a breeze.”

The book takes us back to the early 20th century, the lives and times of the period. And the Bertons are quite a family too.

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