Spiegle Willcox. Photo courtesy Karen Kambestad.
Spiegle Willcox

Newell "Spiegle" Willcox was born in Sherburne, NY in 1903. His father taught him the valve trombone. After enrolling in the Manlius Military Academy in 1918, he swapped his valve instrument for the slide trombone. He left the Manlius Academy in 1920 to begin his professional playing career, and joined the Al Deisseroth Orchestra in Syracuse, NY.  After a stint with Tige Jewett in 1922, he joined Bob Causer's Big Four later that year and stayed as the group evolved into Paul Whiteman's Collegians in 1924.

Spiegle Willcox worked with the Lakeside Park Band in Auburn, NY in 1925, and played briefly with the California Ramblers before joining the popular Jean Goldkette Orchestra in the fall. After a brief stint with the Henry Thies Band, Willcox rejoined Goldkette and remained until June 1927. Working with the Jean Goldkette Orchestra in the late 20s, Willcox played alongside the great Bix Beiderbecke. Not long after, Spiegle Willcox retired from touring, went into the family business in upstate NY, and led his own successful band in the Syracuse area for years.

Mr. Willcox appeared at Carnegie Hall with five other members of the original Jean Goldkette Orchestra in a tribute to Bix Beiderbecke in 1975. He went on to take part in numerous festivals and concerts throughout the US and Europe, and many appearances at the annual Sacramento Jazz Jubilee where he was a Riverwalk Jazz guest. He was such a well-known and longtime resident of Cincinnatus, NY; he could be reached by simply writing to "Spiegle" plus the zip code.

In 1995 Willcox won the Benny Carter Award of the American Federation of Jazz Societies. Spiegle Willcox died in 1999.