The cornetist Bix Beiderbecke, born on this day in 1903, came to his jazz career in a burst of youthful impertinence. For a white musician of his background — born into a striving German-American community in Davenport, Iowa — jazz was strictly disreputable stuff, and not just for its African-American ownership.
The music went hand-in-hand with a spirit of illicit associations — as well as an association with illicit spirits, which is what ultimately ended Beiderbecke’s life at the tragic age of 28.
Mike Davis is 25, and plays Beiderbecke’s instrument with reverential flair. But he had a different path in most respects.