Bix Beiderbecke

Birth Name:
Leon Bismark Beiderbecke
Birth Date:
March 10, 1903
Birth Place:
Davenport, Iowa
Death Date:
August 6, 1931
Place of Death:
Apartment 1G, 43–30 46th Street, Sunnyside, Queens, New York
Cause of Death:
Lobar pneumonia coupled with edema of the brain and the effects of long-term alcoholism
Cemetery Name:
Oakdale Memorial Gardens
Claim to Fame:
Bix Beiderbecke was an American jazz cornetist, pianist and composer who was one of the most influential jazz soloists of the 1920s. As a cornet player noted for an inventive lyrical approach and purity of tone and with such clarity of sound that Eddie Condon described it like "Beiderbecke took out a silver cornet. He put it to his lips and blew a phrase. The sound came out like a girl saying yes." His solos on seminal recordings such as "Singin' the Blues" and "I'm Coming, Virginia" (both 1927) demonstrate his gift for extended improvisation that heralded the jazz ballad style. Sadly he died at the young age of 28 due primarily to his prodigious consumption of alcohol.

Fun Facts

The film Young Man with a Horn (1950) was based on Bix Beiderbecke starring Kirk Douglas, Lauren Bacall, Doris Day, and Hoagy Carmichael. The trumpet overdubs in the film were recorded by the legendary Harry James.

It was not unusual to see Babe Ruth leaving the apartment Bix occupied in his final days as the Babe and Bix were good friends and heavy drinkers.

One night on Chicago’s South Side at a small club called the Plantation Inn, both Bix and Louie Armstrong were playing with their respective bands. As the evening progressed the concert turned into a battle of the bands. After the show one of the band members saw Louie weeping in the corner. When asked what was wrong Louis Armstrong replied, “I could never play as good as Bix.”

Bix once turned to a fellow musician and commented, “If you didn’t spend so much money on fancy clothes, you would have more money to buy gin.”

Cemetery Information:

Final Resting Place:

Oakdale Memorial Gardens

2501 Eastern Avenue

Davenport, Iowa, 52803


North America


Map of Oakdale Memorial Gardens in Davenport Iowa

Grave Location:

Beiderbecke Family Plot, Section 17, Lot 60, Grave 1

Grave Location Description

As you enter the cemetery off Eastern Avenue, drive past the administration building on your left and past the lake (also on your left). Straight ahead of you is Section 2 which is a perfect circle of graves. Stay to the left and drive exactly halfway around the circle. As you park Section 6 will be on your right and Section 17 will be on your left. The Beiderbecke Family Monument can easily be seen from the road in Section 17.

Grave Location GPS

41.5466721691, -90.5478769536



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