Fulbright riffs, 1991 — day 69, Tuesday August 6th

WKCR commemorates the death sixty years ago of Bix Beiderbecke, starting the day with a trip down memory lane. [Bix played a part in shaping my relationship with Jayne. We met after the first tentative public performance by a student jazz band I’d put together at Exeter University. We discovered we had a mutual love of jazz: I let her borrow one of my Parker LPs in exchange for her Bix and Tram. The rest was cherished history].

Parlophone PMC 7064 (eil.com)
SAGA ERO 8031 (discogs.com)

As usual for such commemorative programmes, all of Bix’s recordings are to be played, along with those directly connected to or influenced by him. I had tried some probing of my own earlier on this trip of the Bix enigma, but the interview transcripts I read, of Bill Challis, Chauncey Morehouse and Steve Brown (bass player), only served to increase the mystery.

Jazz is well-supported by public radio in the States and the IJS has substantial donations from National Public Radio. I take a look at some recordings from the 1977 New Orleans Festival by groups led by Charles Mingus and Ed Blackwell.

Ed Blackwell, Berlin 1971 (www.janperssoncollection.dk)

Lunch with Vincent and Herman. We spend most of the time talking about and imitating British comedy programmes.

After less than 48 hours, my resistance to replacing the stolen Casio electronic diary collapses. I find an upgraded version in a sale at Macy’s in Newark — $89. I also buy a shoulder bag, so I’m back to square one, albeit minus all the contacts and diary entries that may or may not be extant on paper.

Interviews donated to the IJS (i.e. those that are not part of their oral history programmes) are mostly recorded at 3 3/4 ips. There are no transcripts and labelling is minimal. It might be revealing to listen but there’s no tape machine available to accommodate that particular speed.

I walk home from the station with Diane, Robert and Matthew Heffley. Matthew has just had his first haircut.

One of Rowland’s students is here this evening. We watch a video of Claire Denis’s Chocolat, another treatment of race relations when boundaries, in this case French colonial Cameroon, are crossed.

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