Letter of Nomination 2006.

                                                                             Albert Haim
                                                                             20 Three Village Lane
                                                                                                                   Setauket, NY 11733

May 29, 2006

Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee
Stamp Development

US Postal Service

1735 North Lynn St Rm 5013

Arlington VA 22209-6432

Dear Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee:

Several years ago, Michael Heckman and I nominated Leon “Bix” Beiderbecke as the subject of a US commemorative stamp. I enclose my original letter of nomination and supporting information, as well as a press release by Kathleen Read, publisher of the Wilson Quarterly, in support of the proposal for a Bix commemorative stamp.

Since my previous nomination, Mr. Leon “Bix” Beiderbecke has received additional honors for his extraordinary contributions to American music, and I have discovered others bestowed upon him, that I had failed to include in my nomination from 1999. 

Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame, Jazz at Lincoln Center. On September 30, 2004, Jazz at Lincoln Center celebrated the dedication of the Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame. The Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame is located on the 14th floor of  the new home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, in Columbus Circle, New York City. The inaugural class of members inducted into the Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame were: Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, Bix Beiderbecke, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Coleman Hawkins, Billie Holiday, Thelonious Monk, Jelly Roll Morton, Charlie Parker, Art Tatum and Lester Young. Thus, Bix was one of only fourteen jazz musicians honored by this award.

Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame. In 1952, Down Beat Magazine inaugurated the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame based on critics polls. The winner in 1962 was Bix Beiderbecke. Down Beat's Jazz Hall of Fame is maintained at Universal Studios's City Jazz Club in Orlando, Florida.

Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame. The non-profit organization “The Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame” was founded in 1977. The goals of the organization were to “promote greater awareness, knowledge, and appreciation of big band and jazz music.” Bix Beiderbecke was inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall in the second year, together with Miles Davis, Fletcher Henderson, Billie Holiday and Charlie Parker.

International Academy of Jazz Hall of Fame. In 1977, the International Academy of Jazz Hall of Fame was created at the University of Pittsburgh “for the purpose of recognizing and honoring jazz musicians who have made exceptional contributions to the art.” From the Academy’s website, “The Academy inducts new honorees each year. Inductees are selected by a worldwide voting committee of jazz critics, writers, composers, and musicians who have for years been active forces in the field of jazz.” Bix Beiderbecke was inducted in 1993.

The Sweet and Hot Music Foundation Walk of Fame. In 1996, in conjunction with its music festival, the Sweet and Hot Music Foundation inaugurated the Walk of Fame. It consists of a series of commemorative plaques imbedded in the concrete around the poolside area of the L.A. Marriott Airport Hotel.  The inductees in 1996 were Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, George Gershwin, and Benny Goodman. In 1997, the jazz musicians honored with a bronze plaque in the "Sweet and Hot Music Foundation Walk of Fame" were Bix Beiderbecke, Ella Fitzgerald, Cole Porter, and Thomas "Fats" Waller."

<>Iowa Walk of Fame. Shenandoah’s Iowa Walk of Fame was established in 1999. There are ninety plaques honoring famous native Iowans or individuals who lived in Iowa for a significant length of time. All the individuals honored in the Walk of Fame have national and/or international reputations. Bix Beiderbecke is among the Iowans honored on the Iowa Walk of Fame. 

ASCAP Jazz Wall of Fame. ASCAP CEO John LoFrumento called the Wall, "our way of giving permanent recognition to the greatest exponents of our country's truly indigenous and unique musical art forms." Bix was inducted into the Jazz Wall of Fame in the 1990s.

National Recording Registry.  The National Recording Preservation Act of 2000 was  "A bill to establish the National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress to maintain and preserve sound recordings and collections of sound recordings that are culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant, and for other purposes." Bix Beiderbecke’s 1927 recording ofSingin’ the Blues” was selected in 2006 for inclusion in the 2005 Registry.

Today, more than 100 years after his birth and more than seventy years after his death, Bix Beiderbecke has a phenomenal popularity and influence that extends beyond any geographical boundaries. His recordings are still being reissued –in the United States as well as in Europe. Ken Burns jazz program on PBS devoted substantial portions of episodes 3 and 4 to the life and music of Bix Beiderbecke. Beiderbecke’s composition “In A Mist” (Bix recorded it in 1927 and played it in Carnegie Hall in 1928) was included recently in the “NPR 100: Master List of top 300 Songs.” There are currently 88 recordings of “In A Mist”, the last 10 having been recorded in the 21st Century.

It is appropriate to end this nomination by quoting from the press release on occasion of the inauguration of the Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame, Jazz At Lincoln Center, and the induction of Bix Beiderbecke- the highest possible honor for a jazz musician.

“The greatest artists speak across epochs of the undying soul that distinguishes man from everything else in creation,” said Wynton Marsalis, Artistic Director, Jazz at Lincoln Center. “These 14 men and women are the embodiment of the very best in American culture.  Their creations will stand for all time as a testament to the richness of our way of living.  We're proud to provide the world with a place to celebrate and reflect upon their great achievements."  A 72-person international voting panel, which includes musicians, scholars and educators from 17 countries, was charged with nominating and selecting the most definitive artists in the history of jazz for induction into the Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame.  Criteria for nomination include excellence and significance of the artists’ contributions to the development and perpetuation of jazz.  “The artists that we will honor as the first class of members into the Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame gave something wonderful, passionate, inspiring and eternal to the world,” said Ahmet Ertegun. “Beiderbecke’s recording career lasted less than seven years; alcoholism and pneumonia killed him at 28. But the understated eloquence of his solos and the silvery brilliance of his tone -- "like a girl saying yes," the guitarist Eddie Condon remembered --brought a new kind of quiet lyricism to jazz and helped convince a generation of eager young white musicians that they, too, could make a contribution to the new American music.”   

It is high time for the United States Postal Service to recognize one of the most important and influential jazz musicians of the 1920s by issuing a commemorative stamp in his honor. As Louis Armstrong said about Bix, “Ain’t None of Them Played Like Him Yet.”


Albert Haim

Letter of Nomination 1999.

Michael B. Heckman                                                                      Albert Haim
P. O Box 644                                                                                20 Three Village Lane
Pine Bush, NY 12566                                                                    Setauket, NY 11733

November 19, 1999

Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee
c/o Stamp Management,
 U.S. Postal Service
 475 L'Enfant Plaza, SW, Room 4474EB,
 Washington, DC 20260-6756

Dear Members of the Advisory Committee:

    In May 1998, the U.S.P.S issued a commemorative stamp entitled “Jazz Flourishes”. The description of the stamp in the U.S.P.S. web site reads: “1920’s: Jazz. Created in the United States, jazz was spread by radio and recordings in the 1920’s. Among the leading performers were Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Joe “King” Oliver, Fletcher Henderson, and Bix Beiderbecke.” The USPS singled out five musicians out of the hundreds who played in the 1920’s. Of these five musicians, two of them, Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton, have been the subjects of commemorative stamps. We suggest that Leon Bix Beiderbecke, one of the most important American jazz musicians of the century, be honored with a commemorative stamp to be issued on March 10, 2003, the 100th anniversary of his birth.
    Leon Bix Beiderbecke was a jazz musician of world renown who made unparalleled, innovative, and lasting contributions to the jazz idiom, both as a performer (cornet and piano) and as a composer. Bix is ordinarily categorized as a jazz musician. That would be an accurate but superficial description. What Bix created was music of unique beauty. Jazz was the medium of his expression, but the music that came from his cornet and piano was comparable to lyric poetry. He took the brash, extroverted art of jazz and showed that jazz can be melodious and reflective. He is credited with being an originator of the jazz ballad. He took the polyphonic New Orleans jazz style and added the expressive and lyrical instrumental solo to it. These two innovations are among the most important components of Bix’s enduring musical legacy. The other components are represented by Bix’s highly original musical compositions and by his recordings. The recordings, although made when the quality of sound reproduction was somewhat limited, show that Bix’s cornet sound was beautiful and unique, that he was a musician of exquisite taste, and that he had a remarkable genius for extemporaneous and highly original improvisation.
    Leon Bix Beiderbecke was born on March 10, 1903 in Davenport, Iowa and died in Queens, NY on August 6, 1931.  He began his professional career in 1923 playing cornet with the Wolverine Orchestra. In 1926, he joined the Jean Goldkette Victor Recording Orchestra, the most successful jazz organization in the Midwest. In 1927, he joined the orchestra of Paul Whiteman, the “King of Jazz”. During Bix’s brief recording career – it lasted only six years – he recorded with such jazz giants as Hoagy Carmichael, Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa, Eddie Lang, Joe Venuti, and many others. Today, nearly 100 years after his birth and almost seventy years after his death, Bix Beiderbecke has a phenomenal popularity and influence that extends beyond any geographical boundaries.
    Bix was an original. His technique and style of playing were unique and had a profound influence on his fellow musicians. Bix’s solo in “Singin’ the Blues” has been recorded note for note by several musicians of renown such as Rex Stewart and Bobby Hackett. Following Bix’s recording of the tune, almost every jazz player in America tried to emulate his style and sound. Bix’s recording of “Singin’ the Blues” is considered by most jazz critics and historians to be one of the two most important jazz recordings of all time. The other one is Armstrong’s “West End Blues”.
However, even more important than Bix’s influence on his contemporaries, is the fact that he provided a different path than that developed by Louis Armstrong. A comparison with Armstrong, considered by many to be the most important jazz musician of the century, is appropriate because Bix’s musical creativity flourished at the same time as that of the young Louis Armstrong.  Whereas Armstrong’s strength was his spectacular technique, Bix’s genius was for extemporaneous improvisation. Bix’s improvisational style introduced into jazz music a greater measure of classical structure and sensibility. His piano compositions blend the idiom of jazz with the classical European tradition, in particular French impressionism.
    Bix’s influence in jazz was long lasting. Many jazz critics and historians consider that Bix’s music is at the origin of the movement known as cool jazz. Approximately one third of the nearly fifty existing recordings of “In A Mist”, Bix’s most important composition, were made in the 1990’s. Two jazz festivals totally dedicated to the preservation and dissemination of Bix's musical legacy take place every year.
    Detailed information is provided in the attached documents entitled “Additional Information in Support of the Nomination of Leon Bix Beiderbecke as the Subject of a Commemorative Stamp”.


                                                         Michael Heckman     Albert Haim

Additional Letter 2002.

                                                                      Albert Haim
                                                                       20 Three Village Lane
                                                                     Setauket, NY 11733
February 22, 2002
Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee
c/o Stamp Management,
 U.S. Postal Service
 475 L'Enfant Plaza, SW, Room 4474EB,
 Washington, DC 20260-6756

Dear Members of the Advisory Committee:
On November 19, 1999, Michael Heckman and I submitted a latter of nomination of Leon Bix Beiderbecke as the subject of a commemorative stamp to be issued on March 6, 2003, the 100th anniversary of his birthday.

I recently became aware of two important pieces of information in support of our nomination. In our previous letter, we highlighted Bix’s cornet solo in the recording of “Singin’ the Blues” by Frank Trumbauer and his orchestra and Bix’s piano solo recording of his own composition “In A Mist.”  We discovered strong supporting evidence for the seminal importance of the two recordings.

The Grammy organization has several types of awards. One of these is the "Grammy Hall of Fame Award." As described in the grammy.com website, "The GRAMMY Hall of Fame was established by the Recording Academy's National Trustees in 1973 to honor early recordings of lasting, qualitative or historical significance that were released more than 25 years ago. Winners are selected annually by a special member committee of eminent and knowledgeable professionals from all branches of the recording arts." Two of the entries in the list of awards read as follows.

Inducted 1977
Frankie Trumbauer And His Orchestra Featuring Bix Beiderbecke On Cornet

IN A MIST (Piano Solo)
Inducted 1980
Bix Beiderbecke

An additional piece of information must be brought up to recognize the significance of the two Grammy Hall of Fame Awards. Bix Beiderbecke’s recording career covered the years 1924-1930. During that period, six records in the jazz genre were honored. Two of these are Bix’s. Clearly, the induction of the recordings “Singin’ the Blues” and “In A Mist” to the Grammy Hall of Fame bolsters our contention of the seminal importance of the contributions of  Bix Beiderbecke to our American musical legacy.


Albert Haim


Additional Information, 1999.

Additional Information in Support of the 1999 Nomination of
Leon Bix Beiderbecke
as the Subject of a Commemorative Stamp

    In what follows, we will list evidence of the recognition and honors bestowed upon Bix in recognition of his seminal contributions and achievements.

Additional information can be found in a web site entitled “Bix Beiderbecke Resources: A Bixography”. The URL is http://ms.cc.sunysb.edu/~alhaim/index.html


Press Release by Kathlyn Read (ca 2003).






 WASHINGTON, D.C.  Such legendary and disparate 1920s' celebrities as Babe Ruth, Herbert Hoover, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gloria Swanson, Charles Lindbergh, the Prince of Wales and King Oliver all had one thing in common. 

 They were Bixophiles, enthusiastic fans of the great jazz cornet/trumpet player Bix Beiderbecke.  Unfortunately, Beiderbecke , whose improvisation abilities and mellow sound still influence aspiring musicians , died of pneumonia in 1931, a year and a half short of his 30th birthday.  If he had lived, his name might be as famous as two of his longer-lived admirers, Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong.

While Beiderbecke may be denied a place in the first circle of the jazz pantheon, a new generation of Bixophiles is striving to secure him at least a small measure of immortality with a commemorative U.S. postage stamp.

 Noting that the U.S. Postal Service already has honored such great American jazz artists as Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton, Bixophiles hope to persuade the USPS to issue a commemorative stamp of Beiderbecke by March 10, 2003 , the 100th anniversary of his birth in the Mississippi River town of Davenport, Iowa.

<>  Jazz historians credit Beiderbecke with creating the modern jazz ballad ¾ a form later popularized by such great lyric players as Miles Davis, Gerry Mulligan, J.J. Johnson, John Coltrane and Chet Baker.   <>         "He took the brash, extroverted music that was the polyphonic News Orleans jazz and showed that it could be melodious and reflective as well," said Albert Haim of Setauket, N.Y., a leader of the campaign for a Bix  stamp.  "He was a musician of exquisite taste and he had a remarkable genius for extemporaneous and highly original improvisation."
<>         Beiderbecke began his professional career in 1923, playing cornet with the famed Wolverine Orchestra.  He joined Jean Goldkette's Victor Recording Orchestra in 1926, and a year later moved up to the orchestra of Paul  Whiteman, the man renowned in the Roaring Twenties as the "King of Jazz".

         During his all too brief, six-year recording career, Bix Beiderbecke turned out records with such giants as Hoagy Carmichael, Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Joe Venuti, Eddie Lang and Gene Krupa.  Whatever the all-star constellation, Bix always was considered first among equals.

<>         Beiderbecke's solo on a recording of "Singing' the Blues," Haim notes, "is considered by most jazz critics and historians as one of the two most jazz recordings of all time" ¾ along with Armstrong's "West End Blues." <> In the long run, Beiderbecke has had more impact on modern jazz than Armstrong, whose hotter, emotional style is considered somewhat passé by many.  

          The longer, more introspective riffs of Beiderbecke are considered the forerunners of the cerebral "cool jazz" sound that, while evolving, still thrives today.  That timelines is illustrated by the fact that about one-third of the nearly 50 existing recordings of Bix's most important composition, "In a Mist," were made in the 1990s.

         "Bix's improvisational style," says Haim, "introduced a greater measure of classical structure and sensibility. His piano compositions blend the idiom of jazz with classical European tradition, particularly, French impressionism."

         With or without a postage stamp, Beiderbecke's music will live on.

         The Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Society was founded in 1971 to preserve and perpetuate his musical genius.  Two annual jazz festivals offer homage to him, including one that began in hometown of Davenport in 1972.  The home he was born in there is on the National Register of Historic Places. Forty-three CDs and albums by other musicians paying tribute to Bix have been released in the last two decades.  There are nine different biographies of Bix, the last two published in 1998, and two award-winning documentary movies.

 Yet Haim thinks Beiderbecke's prominent role in Ken Burns' recent PBS series on jazz may be the impetus needed to spur the postal service's stamp selection commission to issue a "Bixer". 

 "We hope it happens by his centennial year of 2003," Haim says.  "If they do, I think the postal service will be surprised by the flood of requests they get from all over the world for first-day commemorative issues.

 There are, after all, legions of jazz lovers who agree with the title of one the documentary movies about him. Bix, Ain’t None of Them Play Like Him Yet."


 Kathy Read is the publisher of The Wilson Quarterly, a publication that is celebrating its 25th anniversary as a  leading chronicler of American and international culture. Readers may write her at The Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, One Woodrow Wilson Place, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004.


EDITORS NOTE: The writer gives permission to newspapers to publish this op-ed in Online as well as print editions without compensation.


Additional information about  efforts to have a Bix commemorative stamp are summarized in


           Example HR

Return to the top  Return to home page Return to Detailed Table of Contents


A Brief Biography  Articles in Magazines The Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Society
Bix's Musical Genius Video Tapes  Items of Special Interest
Biographies Audio Tapes Information of Related Interest
Chapters in Books Museums A Stamp for Bix in 2003
Scholarly Dissertations Miscellaneous Links to Related Sites
Obituaries Readers' Queries and Remarks Celebration of Bix's Musical Legacy

The Original 78's
Analysis of Some Recordings: Is It Bix or Not ?
Complete Compilations of Bix's Recordings
Tributes to Bix
Miscellaneous Recordings Related to Bix
In A Mist