Bix Jazz Society: Riverboat Jazz Returns, New Bands, New Board Members.

Hot Jazz will return to the Upper Mississippi River next year during the Bix Beiderbecke Jazz Festival. The Riverboat Cruise this year was a huge success, with attendees, organizers, and musicians calling for a repeat. On August 2, 2024, there will be even more music aboard the Celebration Belle, with Matt Tolentino’s Iowans playing on the main deck while T.J. Müller’s Jazz-O-Maniacs perform on the upper deck. The lucky folks who purchase tickets for the cruise will enjoy the same kind of hot jazz once performed by bands such as Fate Marable’s, Tony Catalano’s, and Charles Creath’s aboard the excursion steamboats which plied the Upper Mississippi during the Jazz Age.

The Jazz-O-Maniacs will also perform at the Bix Beiderbecke Jazz Festival, which takes place August 1-3 at the Rhythm City Casino in Davenport. Additional groups performing at the festival include three new bands: Mike Davis’ New Wonders (Classic Jazz of the 1920s), Paul Asaro & his Rhythm (Swing music in the tradition of Fats Waller), and the El Dorado Jazz Band (Traditional New Orleans Jazz via Southern California). Longtime festival favorites the Chicago Cellar Boys, Graystone Monarchs, and the Bix Youth Band complete the band lineup.

Red Wood Coast

Among the musicians who will perform with the various bands at the Bix Festival: Andy Schumm, David Boeddinghaus, Steve Pikal, Jeff Barnhart, Dave Kosmyna and Natalie Scharf (who was interviewed for the September issue of The Syncopated Times). Also, four musicians will be performing at the Bix Jazz Festival for the first time in 2024: guitarist Jacob Alspach, trombonist Brandon Au, bassist Mikiya Matsuda, percussionist /vocalist Gina DeGregorio and Grammy nominee/multi-instrumentalist Colin Hancock.

In addition to the sets at the Rhythm City Casino and the Riverboat Cruise, specially-assembled jazz bands will perform at the Putnam Museum in Davenport on Thursday, August 1 and at Bix Beiderbecke’s gravesite on Saturday, August 3.

In other news, the Bix Jazz Society has welcomed two new members to the Board of Directors. Both are bandleaders and drummers! Davenport native Josh Duffee is returning to the Board after several years. Arkansan Hal Smith—elected in October—will also work for the festival as Band Advisor.

Hot Jazz Jubile

Be sure to check the Bix Jazz Society’s website for updates, to purchase tickets and for information regarding area lodging:

 | Website

Hal Smith is an Arkansas-based drummer and writer. He leads the New Orleans Night Owls and the
Mortonia Seven and works with a variety of jazz and swing bands. Visit him online at

Or look at our Subscription Options.