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Bix bands: Matt Tolentino will perform Bix-era music at the Quad-City Times Bix 7
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Quad-City Times Bix 7

Bix bands: Matt Tolentino will perform Bix-era music at the Quad-City Times Bix 7

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Matt Tolentino conducts a jazz ensemble. He and a 10-piece band will perform at The Heights of the Era. 

By the time Matt Tolentino was 8 years old, he had listened to all kinds of music, from classic rock to classical orchestras.

But then he heard old jazz, and it changed everything. 

"Hearing the 1920s music was different for me, it triggered something other music hadn't," Tolentino said. 

Now the career jazz musician and singer will help bring the music of the 1920s and Bix Beiderbecke back to the Quad-City Times Bix 7. 

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Matt Tolentino poses for a portrait in front of a vintage microphone. He and a 10-piece band will perform after the Bix 7 at The Heights of the Era. 

Tolentino, from Cincinnati, will perform with a 10-piece band at The Heights of the Era, an all-day music event in Lindsay Park during and after the Bix 7 on July 24. They will play at 9:20 p.m., the last group of the night. 

The group will play original sheet music of popular songs from the 1920s and 30s, Tolentino said, making the performance as authentic as possible.

"It'll be just like it was done 100 years ago, which is hard to believe," he said. 

Throughout his career as a musician, Tolentino has learned to play clarinet, saxophone, piano, accordion, tuba, banjo and guitar — and will pick up whatever instrument is needed to make the gig happen.

For The Heights of the Era, he will sing and play banjo. The band will be made up of brass and rhythm sections, and a saxophone. 

Tolentino has visited Davenport once already, stopping by on his way through to pay respects to Beiderbecke. The music of the jazz legend and Davenport native reignited Tolentino's love for the genre when he had briefly strayed away at age 15.

Some of the popular hits Beiderbecke played with different groups will be performed by Tolentino and the band. He said he's excited to be playing in Beiderbecke's hometown, at an event that surrounded itself in music and to see the vision of organizer Michelle Russell come to fruition. 

"I owe it to guys like Bix," he said, "for helping me get started." 

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