It would be easy to forgive the Bix Memorial Jazz Society if its leaders were looking past this weekend's Bix Memorial Jazz Festival. After all, next year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Leon "Bix" Beiderbecke, and the society has some big things planned, including a Caribbean Bix cruise in November 2003 and what's sure to be a blowout centennial festival next summer.

But this year's festival, which runs Thursday evening through Sunday, will feature 11 strong jazz bands from around the world and new trolley tours showcasing various locations important to the life of Bix. The festival, now in its 31st year, is the premier celebration of the Quad Cities-born cornet player and jazz composer, who died at age 28.

MetroLINK and the jazz society have partnered for the trolley tour, which was written by Bix historian Rich Johnson. Stops include Davenport High School (now Davenport Central), Danceland, Beiderbecke's grandparents' home, Hayne's Dancing School, Hill & Fredericks Mortuary Chapel, First Presbyterian Church, the Bix home, and Oakwood Cemetery. Trolley tours are scheduled for July 18 at 2 and 3:30 p.m. and Friday at 10 and 11:30 a.m. (Tickets will be sold at the Bix Hospitality area in the Holiday Inn lobby.)

The bands are the main attraction, though, and this year's lineup includes Beale Street Jazz Band (Tennessee), Bill Allred's Classic Jazz Band (Florida), Bix Beiderbecke Youth Jazz Band (Quad Cities), Cornet Chop Suey (Missouri), Josh Duffee's Orchestra (Illinois and Iowa), Federal Jazz Commission (Washington, D.C.), Fulton Street Jazz Band (California), Natural Gas Jazz Band (California), New Wolverine Jazz Orchestra (Australia), Red Rose Ragtime Band (Illinois), and Tommy Yetta Jazz Band (Louisiana). Music starts Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Col Ballroom and continues Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the Col, LeClaire Park, Davenport Holiday Inn, Danceland, and the Rusty Nail. For a complete schedule of bands and performance times and locations, visit (

Other events related to the Bix festival include a performance by the Federal Jazz Commission at 2 p.m. Thursday at the Putnam Museum & IMAX Theatre, a jazz liturgy Sunday at First Presbyterian Church, and a Chicago jazz mass at St. Paul Lutheran Church.

For more information about the Bix festival, call the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Society at (563)-324-7170.

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