Release Date: 2007
Label: JSP Records
Sidney Bechet was born in New Orleans in May 1897. His father was a successful shoemaker. Sidney was surrounded by music. His father loved music and had many friends in the business. Outside, the streets of New Orleans pulsated with marches, ragtime and popular song. By the age of twelve, Sidney had taught himself to play a tin whistle. Soon he graduated to the clarinet and was sitting in with professionals. In 1917, acknowledged as a leading exponent of the New Orleans style, Sidney joined the general migration of musicians to Chicago. There, he joined King Oliver. After falling out with Oliver, he joined Freddie Keppard. Again, he fell out with his leader and joined ‘Doc’ Cook’s Orchestra which was about to tour Europe. Bechet had a ball. He was part of a Cook group that played for King George V. He also bought the straight soprano sax that would become his trademark. In October 1921, he was back in New York. Europe, though, was irresistible. In 1925 he returned with Josephine Baker. After a successful run in Paris, Bechet took off on a tour of the Continent. In 1930 he returned once more to New York. Sidney had played with vocalist Noble Sissle’s band while in Europe and, back in the States, it was Sissle he joined. Sidney’s contributions on reveal his trademark harsh tone and distinctive vibrato. There is, too, some sparkling interaction between Ladnier and Bechet – a harbinger of the future. In summer 1931 Bechet and Ladnier left. After three months in Germany, they were back in New York with Sissle. It is testimony to Bechet’s ability that he was able to do this: by late 1931 good musicians were struggling for work. Bechet and his distinctive sound would be in demand on both sides of the Atlantic for the rest of his life. In that time he played with, among many other, Louis Armstrong – and he forever resented being ‘cut’ by Louis.The Feetwarmers cuts here, with Bechet in soaring form and congenial company are a good place to leave him.