Bix & Fats in Cincinnati


In the summer of 2013, I visited a few new places in the middle of the USA. My first port of call was Cincinnati, Ohio. Here in the video above is the corner at which once stood Doyle’s Dance Academy. The Wolverines arrived here in 1924 after their regular job ended at The Stockton Club in Hamilton (about 25 miles north) following raucous events on New Years’ Eve, 1923. The club closed so The Wolverines arrived here with Bix Beiderbecke. In addition to Bix, The Wolverines at this point in time consisted of Dick Voynow on piano, Jimmy Hartwell on clarinet, Min Leibrook on tuba, Bob Gillette on banjo, George Johnson on tenor, Al Gandee on trombone and Vic Moore on drums.

Here is the group’s first recording (11751-A) for Gennett in Richmond, Indiana, from a session on February 18, 1924 – Fidgety Feet.
Solos : Hartwell, cl (break 2) – Gandee, tb (break 2) – Bix, c (break 2) – Hartwell, cl (14) – Gillette, bj (break 2)

They were gone from the Doyle’s job by April after disputes with the building management and local musicians, and began a new job in Indianapolis. The building which housed the Academy was torn down in the 1970s.

Wolverines in Cincinnati
Despite the ‘Chicago’ on the hanging cloth, this photo above was taken inside the Dance Academy in Cincinnati in 1924. Not only that, The Wolverines never actually played in Chicago while Bix was in the Orchestra. The original group (which was formed prior to Bix becoming a member) consisted of all Chicago musicians, and thus for publicity shots, they had the cloth made with the city’s name in. Bix had not joined the Orchestra at the time of the ‘cloth’ idea.

Fats Waller dentist building 1

In 1932 Fats Waller began his own radio program, Fats Waller’s Rhythm Club, on Cincinnati station WLW. These pictures show the building where he used to go for dental work. Yes, no subject is too surreal or weird for this blog. Fats Waller’s dentist, folks! The door on the extreme left in the picture below was the entrance to the old dental practice. It’s not a bad thing that most of the building is today kept alive with live Jazz and a cosy restaurant. It is now Schwartz’s Point Jazz Club, located at 1901 Vine St, Cincinnati, Ohio.



Fats Waller dentist building 2
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