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Dixieland Revival – A Sense of History (1939 - 1955)

Read "Dixieland Revival – A Sense of History (1939 - 1955)" reviewed by Russell Perry

In the 1940's, some twenty-five to thirty years into the history of recorded jazz, the sometimes violent reaction against the bebop revolution caused a hard look into the rear view and the jazz world focused on its own history. Many of the players who led the first jazz revolution were still alive, ready for prime time, and welcoming of another chance at center stage. The outside forces that led the small ensembles of bebop and R&B into prominence, also supported ...

GETTING INTO JAZZ

Runnin' Wild

Read "Runnin' Wild" reviewed by Mark Barnett

Getting Started If you're new to jazz, go to our Getting Into Jazz primer for some hints on how to listen. CD Capsule Two hot jazz legends melt the thermometer, pushing each other to produce the most inspired work of their careers. As the sportscasters say, “They came to play." Background “So these two alpha-male jazz musicians walk into a bar..." No, in this case they walked into a studio and made some outstanding (and oddly ...

BUILDING A JAZZ LIBRARY

Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?

Read "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?" reviewed by Nathan Holaway

This article was originally published in September 2005. Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans? The Big Easy. The Crescent City. N'awlins. Some adore it, some despise it. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans continues to be the testimonial travesty of the United States. With certain political officials claiming that jny: New Orleans is “not worth rebuilding, I would have to strongly object. Anyone who has ever enjoyed a beignet with ...

BOOK EXCERPTS

On Highway 61: Music, Race, and the Evolution of Cultural Freedom

Read "On Highway 61: Music, Race, and the Evolution of Cultural Freedom" reviewed by Dennis McNally

The following is an excerpt from the “Spirituals to Swing" chapter of On Highway 61: Music, Race, and the Evolution of Cultural Freedom by Dennis McNally (Counterpoint Press, Berkeley, 2014). Danny Barker, who in the 1930s was Cab Calloway's guitarist, told a particularly revealing story of working at the Nest Club, a Harlem after-hours joint. Business would be dead when the doorman buzzed three loud rings to indicate that they had prospects coming. The band would strike ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Sidney Bechet & Mezz Mezzrow: The King Jazz Records Story

Read "The King Jazz Records Story" reviewed by Chris Mosey

Three decades before Norman Mailer in 1957 drew attention to the social phenomenon of the “white negro," Mezz Mezzrow claimed to be just that. To use his own terminology, he was “a voluntary negro." Actually an American Jew, he played clarinet in the 1930s and 40s, often, as here, alongside Sidney Bechet. He supplemented his meager earnings as a musician by supplying marijuana to fellow jazzmen, including--famously--Louis Armstrong. He sold so much that for a while a ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Sidney Bechet: Sidney Bechet

Read "Sidney Bechet" reviewed by Andrew Velez

Sidney Bechet (1897-1959) is a legendary jazz figure whose range of instruments included soprano, tenor and bass saxophones, piano, bass, drums and, most famously, the clarinet. A true jazz star, Bechet's graceful playing and structural skill made him into the first significant jazz soloist, even before his fellow New Orleans native, Louis Armstrong. This collection is a mix of sides from sessions made for King Jazz in New York (1945) and Chicago (1947) with varying blues-oriented bands. ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Sidney Bechet: Mosaic Select 23

Read "Sidney Bechet: Mosaic Select 23" reviewed by Robert R. Calder

Sidney Bechet Mosaic Select 23: Sidney Bechet Mosaic Records 2006

In August 2004, in a back street in the German town of Konstanz, I heard his music played by an itinerant Italian clarinetist. Days later in Spain, in front of Barcelona cathedral, I heard a different clarinetist and a different Bechet tune. Back in Germany a year later, another Italian and more Bechet.

These guys weren't even jazz musicians, unlike Evan Christopher, ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Sidney Bechet: Mosaic Select

Read "Mosaic Select" reviewed by Ken Dryden

Sidney Bechet was one of the first jazz virtuosos, dominating nearly every recording session in which he took part. Though his Blue Note and RCA Victor recordings are better known due to frequent reissues, there is a lot of rare, valuable material here. This limited-edition compilation collects many of his recordings (plus fourteen previously unissued selections) under the Sony music umbrella, including tracks made for Columbia, Okeh, Variety and Vocalion, all with greatly improved remastering. Disc one ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Sidney Bechet: Sidney Bechet, 1938-1952

Read "Sidney Bechet, 1938-1952" reviewed by Joel Roberts

New Orleans jazz legend Sidney Bechet was all the rage in Paris in the late '40s and early '50s, when he recorded the sides included on disc one of this new two-CD package. After some lean years in the US, when he temporarily dropped out of the music business to run a tailor shop in Harlem, Bechet journeyed to Paris, where his blend of traditional jazz and full-bodied swing made him the toast of the town. He'd live out the ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Sidney Bechet: Up a Lazy River

Read "Up a Lazy River" reviewed by Robert Spencer

Sidney Bechet was the first master of the soprano saxophone, and indeed, the father of all the others: when the instrument was almost forgotten, Steve Lacy heard Bechet play Duke Ellington's “The Mooche." Then John Coltrane was somehow (there are different versions of the story) introduced to the soprano by Lacy. And the rest is history.

But Bechet's work still remains among the foremost explications of the possibilities of the soprano saxophone, for no one since has approached his ocean-wide ...