• Chris Madsen

Saturday was the 109th birthday of Iowa trumpeter Bix Beiderbecke, one of the greatest and most tortured of jazz’s early phenoms—he died in 1931, at age 28, after suffering from alcoholism for years. Though no horn man from that era will ever escape the shadow of Louis Armstrong, Beiderbecke was a great player and brought a wonderfully lyrical, gentle quality to traditional jazz improvisation. His music has had a strong influence on local reedist Chris Madsen, a professor at Northwestern University, who recently released an entire album of music associated with the trumpeter. He’ll celebrate the release of Plays Bix Beiderbecke (JeruJazz) with a performance on Wednesday night at the Jazz Showcase.