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Today: The late Sidney Bechet was born in 1897 – 116 years ago

sidney bechet

But drinking and reefers and all that stuff, most times they just mess up all the feeling you got inside yourself and all the feeling the music’s got inside itself. When a man goes at the music that way, it’s just a sign that there’s a lot inside himself he don’t know how to answer. He’s not knowing which way he needs to go. He’s not going anywhere at all.
~Sidney Bechet (Treat It Gentle: The Autobiography of Sidney Bechet)

Petite Fleur ( the Olympia Concert Paris, December 8, 1954):

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 him. Bechet wanted to play lead and it was up to the other horns to stay out of his way.
~Scott Yanow (allmusic.com)


Born May 14, 1897
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Died May 14, 1959 (aged 62)
Garches, France
Genres Jazz
Occupations Clarinetist
Instruments Clarinet
Soprano saxophone
Years active 1908–1957
Associated acts Louis Armstrong
Tommy Ladnier

Sidney Bechet (May 14, 1897 – May 14, 1959) was an American jazz saxophonist, clarinetist, and composer.

He was one of the first important soloists in jazz (beating cornetist and trumpeter Louis Armstrong to the recording studio by several months and later playing duets with Armstrong), and was perhaps the first notable jazz saxophonist. Forceful delivery, well-constructed improvisations, and a distinctive, wide vibrato characterized Bechet’s playing.

Bechet’s erratic temperament hampered his career, however, and not until the late 1940s did he earn wide acclaim.


Blue Horizon:

.. by combining the ‘cry’ of the blues players and the finesse of the Creoles into his ‘own way,’ Sidney Bechet created a style which moved the emotions even as it dazzled the mind.
~Robert Palmer

Playlist of the day:

Other May 14:

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