The Bix Beiderbecke Museum and World Archives in Davenport has added new artifacts to their collection.
A trombone once owned by jazz musician Newell “Spiegle” Willcox has been donated to the museum, along with a megaphone mute played at Carnegie Hall. Willcox played with Bix Beiderbecke in the Goldkette Orchestra from 1926-27 and enjoyed an extensive career in music until his death at the age of 96 in 1999.
“We wish to thank the Willcox family, in particular Charles and Cynthia, for their generous donation of their late father’s trombone and mute,” said Nathaniel Kraft, Bix Museum Director. “The trombone is not only is a piece of jazz history but has a special significance to the Quad Cities as Spiegle played it here at several Bix Festivals he attended through the 1980s and 90s.”
The Conn trombone is engraved with Spiegle’s name and was used by the musician in the later years of his life at concerts and jazz festivals worldwide. The megaphone mute was made specifically for Spiegle at the 1975 Goldkette Orchestra Reunion and Tribute to Bix Beiderbecke Concert at Carnegie Hall.
“It is almost fitting to have the instrument return to Davenport,” says Kraft. “There was a photo of Spiegle performing at the LeClaire Park Bandshell found in his instrument case by the family when they were considering what to do with it. We are grateful that they chose to entrust it with the museum.”
The new artifacts will be on permanent display at the museum starting in early 2023, alongside another mute of Willcox’s that is on loan from SUNY Cortland and a stool signed by him after one of his last Bix Fest appearances. For more information on the Bix Beiderbecke Museum and World Archives, click here. The museum is in the lower level of the River Music Experience, 129 N. Main Street in Davenport.