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Jazz Blown away by Bechet

saxplorer

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The Sidney Bechet tracks are just stunning. Even an old chestnut like Tiger Rag is brought to life by the precision and clarity and inventiveness of his phrasing. Who says the standards can't be inspirational? :D

For them as doesn't use Spotify I can offer this ....


Enjoy.
 
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saxplorer

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This ain't half bad either...

 
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Young Col

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The John Petters band is very good of its style. I know John through music and another mutual interest. I saw him locally at Carshalton jazz club last month with his Goodman/Krupa style swing band. He has two very good sax/clarinet players - Karl Hird and Julian Marc Stringle.

Bechet did a series of recordings with Wild Bill and they are all similarly fizzing. Incidentaly John Petters played behind Wild Bill on the latter's later-life tours of the UK. Bechet often played with sidemen who were not near his standard and he just dominated everything. Wild Bill was one who could hold his own. Perhaps the best though was cornetist Muggsy Spanier with whom Bechet made a number of sublime 4 minute sides.
 

rhysonsax

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Yeah !

Second clip was very quiet, but they had a nice feel and were giving it some.

To me Bechet played soprano sax with the dominant personality of a trumpeter and I love it. I couldn't do it myself, and many imitators just sound corny, but the original is magnificent.

Thanks.

Rhys
 

Young Col

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A ps to above. The Bechet/Davison sides were released on two Blue Note vinyl albums. I bought the number 2 one in London about 35 years ago but couldn't get the first one. Then on hols in France my brother and I found it in a late night record shop in Paris and brought it home in some triumph!
 

Young Col

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You're right Rhys. It suited his personality. There are some sides with strong lead trumpets like Max Kaminsky and Sidney deParis where they are fighting to dominate but they are still terrific. For my money Jackass Blues (with Kaminsky)is one of Bechet's greatest blues solos.
 

BigMartin

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I can't work out what makes Bechet so great. They are so many things about his playing that I would hate if it was anyone else, but he just makes it all work wonderfully.
 

saxplorer

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I _think_ I know what you mean. For me, I think it comes down to the fact that he seems to communicate clearly and directly. He knows where he wants to take you and he does it.
 

Colin the Bear

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I like the confidence of his playing. He's all out and all in. A very commanding style yet direct and simple with that wide vibrato giving him a distinctive sound. Hardly ever clever but allways skillful and full of emotion. A pioneer in the field. I believe he played in marching bands in his early years on clarinet and you can hear the power developed from playing outside. A master at work.

I'm a fan can you tell?
 

BigMartin

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I like the confidence of his playing. He's all out and all in. A very commanding style yet direct and simple with that wide vibrato giving him a distinctive sound. Hardly ever clever but allways skillful and full of emotion. A pioneer in the field. I believe he played in marching bands in his early years on clarinet and you can hear the power developed from playing outside. A master at work.

I'm a fan can you tell?
Oh yes, so am I. It was Sidney as much as anyone that got me interested in jazz. I just wish i could put my finger on something he's doing that I could try to incorporate in my own playing.
 

kevgermany

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I love his playing. It's simple, not over ornate and very melodic. He has bags of emotion, but never cheesey or drippy - just beautiful interpretations.
 

TomMapfumo

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Oh yes, so am I. It was Sidney as much as anyone that got me interested in jazz. I just wish i could put my finger on something he's doing that I could try to incorporate in my own playing.

When I started on Soprano Sax my teacher brought me a CD of Bechet to listen to/appreciate. It nearly turned me off Jazz for life.
I appreciate that others are moved by his playing, but I'm sticking with Jan Garbarek as my main soprano sax inspiration for the foreseeable future.
 

BigMartin

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When I started on Soprano Sax my teacher brought me a CD of Bechet to listen to/appreciate. It nearly turned me off Jazz for life.
I appreciate that others are moved by his playing, but I'm sticking with Jan Garbarek as my main soprano sax inspiration for the foreseeable future.
It's a funny old world. Garbareks's stuff sends me to sleep, even though I can tell he can really play.
 

kevgermany

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It's a funny old world. Garbareks's stuff sends me to sleep, even though I can tell he can really play.

I wish it did that to me, but it grates and annoys.

But each to his own. I'm not trying to start a war.
 

Young Col

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I'm not so sure it was playing in marching bands that gave him that power. Other New Orleans clarinetists who were more noted for local band work, like Alphonse Picou or Big Eye louis Nelson, were not so dominant. Bechet left NO by the time he was 20 but no doubt he absorbed much from the general musical atmosphere and from hearing and playing with other strong players - trumpeter Freddie Keppard comes to mind. Bechet was also an educated creole and was taken to the ballet as a boy. This may have added to his sense of drama. (He wrote his own ballet in the 50's.). He was also taught by some of the best NO clarinet teachers - Lorenzo Tio and George Baquet.

I'm inclined to think though that it was this mix plus his own dominant personality that enabled him to be so powerful and communicate so directly. He was certainly pugnacious in his young days - deported from UK (despite playing for Royalty), jailed in Paris, trying to start dog fights with other musicians' pets in Germany - yet in later life interviews his voice and demeanor is soft and mellifluous.

Above all whatever people think of him now, he was the first jazz musician to explore the soprano and no-one else (save Johnny Hodges, whom he taught) has ever sounded like that. His heavy vibrato is criticised now (why did it get wider and deeper as he got older? "senility, dear boy" he told young reporter) but it was a feature of NO orleans playing and much admired then. I doubt that without the foundations he laid for soprano that the likes of Coltrane, Shorter, Garbarek (who in turn was influenced by Coltrane) would have easily found a voice on the instrument.

The British trumpeter and writer Digby Fairweather sums him up well "His compositions were melodically stronger than those of any other classic jazz musician. his creation of a vocabulary for his instrument was as great as Coleman Hawkins' for tenor, and his records are majestic".
 

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