Along with his fellow New Orleanian, Louis Armstrong, Bechet was one of the first great soloists in jazz.
His throaty, powerful clarinet and his throbbing soprano are among the most thrilling sounds in early
jazz. He went from being a pioneer of jazz in the 1920s to a national hero in France, where he spent
the final decade of his life. In his teens he made his name playing in some of New Orleans's up-and-
coming bands, and he played there and in Chicago with King Oliver.
Sidney Bechet was born in New Orleans in May 1897, of Creole ancestry, grew up in a middle class
environment. His father, Omar, who was a shoemaker, played the flute as a hobby