236

Sidney Bechet: Sidney Bechet, 1938-1952

Joel Roberts By

Sign in to view read count
Sidney Bechet: Sidney Bechet, 1938-1952 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 rest of his years in France as something of a national icon until his death in 1959.

There's much to appreciate on these French recordings, most notably the sheer beauty and purity of Bechet's sound on both soprano saxophone and clarinet. Whether playing down and dirty blues, New Orleans stompers or standards like Gershwin's "Summertime or Kurt Weill's "September Song, Bechet shines, soaring above the mostly just-average French bands that backed him.

Even better is disc two, drawn from Bechet's New York recordings a decade earlier. Here, in a variety of small-group settings, he has the benefit of playing with sidemen of his own level, like Rex Stewart, Red Allen, Muggsy Spanier, Charlie Shavers, Willie "The Lion Smith, and Earl Hines. Compared to the French sides, the New York disc is grittier and filled with more exciting solos, as Bechet, pushed by more challenging musical environs, ratchets up his game.

Along with some fine music, this attractive set is distinguished by its packaging. It's the latest in a series of releases that pairs historic jazz recordings with specially commissioned comic strips on the musicians' lives. In this case, an amusing sixteen-page vignette on Bechet's Harlem years from artist Julie Faulques provides another reason to check out this collection.

For more information, visit www.nocturne.fr.


Track Listing: Dans Les Rues d'Antibes; Si Tu Vois Ma M

Personnel: Bernard Addison: Guitar; Henry "Red" Allen: Trumpet; Christian Azzi: Piano; G

Title: Sidney Bechet, 1938-1952 | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: BD Jazz


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read I Believe In You CD/LP/Track Review I Believe In You
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Morning Sun CD/LP/Track Review Morning Sun
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 18, 2017
Read The Conscience CD/LP/Track Review The Conscience
by John Sharpe
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Harlem CD/LP/Track Review Harlem
by James Nadal
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Open Book CD/LP/Track Review Open Book
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Stolen Moments CD/LP/Track Review Stolen Moments
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 17, 2017
Read "Hot Coffey in the D – Burnin' at Morey Baker’s Showplace Lounge" CD/LP/Track Review Hot Coffey in the D – Burnin' at Morey...
by Doug Collette
Published: January 15, 2017
Read "Holding the Stage: Road Shows Vol. 4" CD/LP/Track Review Holding the Stage: Road Shows Vol. 4
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: November 19, 2016
Read "Live at the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival / Matt Savage: Piano Voyages" CD/LP/Track Review Live at the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival /...
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 29, 2016
Read "Right Up On" CD/LP/Track Review Right Up On
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 12, 2017
Read "Start to Move" CD/LP/Track Review Start to Move
by Rokas Kucinskas
Published: September 20, 2016
Read "Blue Skylight" CD/LP/Track Review Blue Skylight
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 12, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.