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items tagged with Bix Beiderbecke

From Dead Ends to a Destination: The Evolution of Jacob Bancks’ “Rock Island Line,” Premiering March 8 and 9 with the Quad City Symphony
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2014-02-20 11:23:18

Jacob Bancks. Photo by Joshua Ford (JoshuaFord.com).

The blast of a train whistle has been transformed in the hands of composer Jacob Bancks – a shrill warning becoming the musical core of a composition that he intends as a greeting to his new community.

Using a “whistle chord” as musical glue and localism as an overriding theme, Bancks combined elements of the Mississippi River and the railroad in a way that is artful, rigorous, and sophisticated. But in creating Rock Island Line – which the Quad City Symphony Orchestra will debut on March 8 and 9 – he also incorporated nods to a local jazz legend and a popular song, playful components that help the work breathe and reach out to the audience.

Yet moving from ideas to a finished composition was not a straight line for the Quad Cities-based composer (who turns 32 on February 21). The effort included derailment and dead ends before finding workable inspiration toward an ultimate destination.

In earlier commissioned works, Bancks tried to find musical and non-musical connections to the organization and community for which he was writing. But this time the commissioning agent was the orchestra where he lives, and Bancks was particularly sensitive about the audience and community for whom this premiere would be presented. “These images and how they work with each other are very important to me, because this is my first piece in my new home and new community where I hope to remain,” he said in August, in his first interview with the River Cities’ Reader. “So, for me, through this piece, I will meet musical people I hope to meet again. And ... this would be a good way to introduce myself to a community I hope to be a part of.”


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Art in Plain Sight: LeClaire Park Bandshell and Bix Sculpture
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Art

Category: Feature Stories

2013-08-23 11:29:38

Photo by Bruce Walters

Fifty years ago – on August 23, 1963 – approximately 2,000 people gathered at the LeClaire Park bandshell for a civil-rights rally that served as a warm-up for the national March on Washington. Twenty-eight local delegates who would participate in the historic march were introduced. They would hear Martin Luther King Jr. deliver his “I Have a Dream” speech in the nation’s capital five days later.

This was by no means the only rally at the bandshell. George W. Bush, for example, gave a campaign speech on its stage in 2004. Barack Obama spoke there three years later.

The bandshell has also served as center stage for numerous annual events –including the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, River Roots Live, the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival, and the Quad City Symphony Orchestra’s Riverfront Pops concert. Past performers on the stage include Greg Brown, Albert Collins, Blue Öyster Cult, Buddy Guy, Little Feat, Los Lobos, The Marshall Tucker Band, and – this past weekend – the Wallflowers.

The bandshell’s official name is the W.D. Petersen Memorial Music Pavilion. It was built in 1924 as a memorial to his daughter Wilma, who had died the previous year at the age of 38. Petersen paid for the pavilion’s construction himself.


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Christmas in August: Josh Duffee Plays in Three Bands at the 2012 Bix Jazz Festival
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2012-07-31 23:28:45

Josh DuffeeJosh Duffee admits that his Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival schedule is intense. The 32-year-old percussionist will be playing with three groups and performing more than a dozen times over five days, but he said it’s not exhausting.

“Usually, by Monday, I’m feeling it a little bit, but ... it’s kind of like Christmas for me,” he said in a phone interview last week. “I’m going to take advantage of every single second I can get, and if I can sleep on Tuesday, August 7, then I’ll go ahead and do that.”

The Bix fest opens on Thursday, August 2, with a full slate of concerts the three days after that and an event on Monday, August 6: a show at one of Bix’s old haunts – Jim’s Knoxville Tap, formerly known as the Bluebird Inn – on the 81st anniversary of his death at age 28. Most concerts will be held in the RiverCenter, the Adler Theatre, and LeClaire Park. (For a full schedule of events, visit BixSociety.org/festival.html.)


Read More About Christmas In August: Josh Duffee Plays In Three Bands At The 2012 Bix Jazz Festival...





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