Davenport Blues

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"Davenport Blues" as a 1925 Gennett 78, 5654-B, by Bix Beiderbecke and the Rhythm Jugglers.
1927 sheet music cover, "Davenport Blues", Robbins Music, New York.

Davenport Blues is a 1925 song composed and recorded by Bix Beiderbecke and released as a Gennett 78. The song has become a jazz and pop standard.


"Davenport Blues" was recorded by Bix Beiderbecke and His Rhythm Jugglers at the Gennett studio on Monday, January 26, 1925, in Richmond, Indiana, and released as Gennett 5654 backed with "Toddlin' Blues" as the A side. The band consisted of Tommy Dorsey on trombone, Paul Madeira Mertz on piano, Don Murray on clarinet, Howdy Quicksell on banjo, Tom Gargano on drums, and Bix Beiderbecke on cornet. Hoagy Carmichael was present at the recording session. The title derives from the name of Bix Beiderbecke's hometown of Davenport, Iowa.

The instrumental is made up of a four bar introduction, a 16 bar verse followed by a 32 bar chorus, after which the verse and chorus are repeated with a 2 bar extended ending. The same melody is used for the verses, but both choruses have different melodies though nearly identical chords. Only on the last refrain of the chorus do we hear the melody which can be identified as "Davenport Blues". Both choruses end in different chord progressions. In the first chorus Bix plays breaks over chords.

Cover versions[edit]

"Davenport Blues" as V Disc 404B by Yank Lawson and the V-Disc All Stars, VP 1106, Hot Jazz, 1945.


  • Bix: Man and Legend by Richard M. Sudhalter & Philip R. Evens (Quartet; 1974).
  • Bix: The Definitive Biography of a Jazz Legend by Jean Pierre Lion with the assistance of Gabriella Page-Fort, Michael B. Heckman and Norman Field (Continuum, New York / London; 2004).
  • "Our Language." Episode 3, Jazz (television miniseries) by Ken Burns. (PBS Home Video/Warner Home Video; 2001).
  • Red Hot Jazz.com

External links[edit]