The Goldkette Orchestra has had a busy month. Besides being mentioned in John O’Hara’s debut novel Appointment at Samarra, there’s the gig at New York’s Roseland, then off to Springfield, Massachusetts (a “flop,” according to pianist Paul Mertz), Detroit, and finally Ann Arbor for a university “J-Hop” opposite old rival Fletcher Henderson. The band continues to record on the straight and narrow such numbers as “Sunny Disposish” (Feb. 3), while Bix Beiderbecke and Frankie Trumbauer buy their own studio time and make jazz history with “Trumbology,” “Clarinet Marmalade,” and “Singin’ the Blues” (Feb. 4).
On Feb. 17, Goldkette settles in back at the Graystone in Detroit. Bix, though, is in New York cornet-shopping at a music store on West 48th Street owned by one Hans Bach, whose brother Vincent is an instrument-maker. Bix is interested in Vincent’s Stradivarius models and ends up purchasing two of them. The first Vincent personally tests for his customer in the store. Bix takes that one with him and has the second—a gold-plated beauty with Bix’s name engraved into the bell—sent to him in Detroit.
The second cornet would be found in Bix’s apartment at the time of his death. The first has disappeared.
ADDITIONALLY: 16 mm home movies of Bix and the Goldkette band, shot by Paul Mertz
This is one in a series of posts following the career of early jazz musician Bix Beiderbecke. The diary is based on the research found in Bix: The Leon Bix Beiderbecke Story by Philip R. and Linda K. Evans.