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Ken Burns Jazz: Sidney Bechet

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Album Review

With cooperation from the Verve and Columbia Legacy catalogs, the Ken Burns Jazz series on CD individually spotlights the musical excellence of 22 jazz originators whose careers and influence are explored in Burns' PBS documentary Jazz. This disc provides an enjoyable introduction to Sidney Bechet, one of the early jazz masters of Dixieland and New Orleans clarinet and soprano saxophone. The 20 tracks on Ken Burns Jazz highlight Bechet's work from 1923 through 1947 with Clarence Williams' Blue Five, Noble Sissle & His Orchestra, and the Spanier-Bechet Big Four. While Bechet's wide vibrato style didn't change much throughout the years, he maintained an excellence and inspired approach that few musicians have been able to sustain consistently, making the majority of his dates worth hearing. While it's impossible to sum up Bechet's history on a single disc, the highlights presented here should encourage the interested novice listener to seek out more material. There is nothing for aficionados on this volume of Ken Burns Jazz.

Biography

Born: 14 May 1897 in New Orleans, LA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s

Sidney Bechet was the first important jazz soloist on records in history (beating Louis Armstrong by a few months). A brilliant soprano saxophonist and clarinetist with a wide vibrato that listeners either loved or hated, Bechet's style did not evolve much through the years but he never lost his enthusiasm or creativity. A master at both individual and collective improvisation within the genre of New Orleans jazz, Bechet was such a dominant player that trumpeters found it very difficult to play with...
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Ken Burns Jazz: Sidney Bechet, Sidney Bechet
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