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The Originals - The Aristocrat Of Jazz: Sidney Bechet

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Album Review

Columbia's Yoyo Music label provides modest amounts of good music by great musicians at an affordable price. Yoyo's Sidney Bechet sampler lightly skims the middle of his career for 12 recordings originally released on the Bluebird, Blue Note, Columbia, and King Jazz imprints. Like Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet was one of the original virtuoso jazz musicians. His passionate intensity and formidable technique often transformed routine traditional jazz into something more along the lines of a therapeutic catharsis, as in his gooseflesh-inducing 1939 recording of "Summertime" and the beautiful "Blues in Thirds" he shared with Earl Hines in 1940. While the blues was a primal element in his entire musical Weltanschauung, Bechet was also a brilliant interpreter of standards and ballads like Cole Porter's "Love for Sale" and Johnny Mercer's "Laura." Yoyo Music's choice of the word "Aristocrat" is appropriate as Sidney Bechet was a dignified and majestic individual who nevertheless had to go to Europe to receive the respectful treatment he so richly deserved. While he was a citizen of the United States of America (as he candidly explained in his autobiography Treat It Gentle) Sidney Bechet was often faced with the challenges inherent in his society's racially delineated caste system. The Parisians, on the other hand, showered Bechet with honors and even named a street after him. Life's incongruities, injustices, blessings, and rewards are wordlessly referenced in each Sidney Bechet performance. Even a superficial little budget album like this one conveys a substantial amount of his thunder and lightning, power and glory.

Customer Reviews


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The Originals - The Aristocrat of Jazz: Sidney Bechet

I would love to have heard Sidney in person. To me this is great stuff. Too bad great recording technology did not exist in the 30's and 40's. And in spite of that, the pure talent still comes through. Sidney Bechet, Art Tatum ??? 'Nuff said.


Born: May 14, 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...
Full Bio

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