Sidney Bechet – The Chronological Classics- 1950-1951 (2003)

Sidney Bechet - The Chronological Classics- 1950-1951 (2003)
Artist: Sidney Bechet
Album: The Chronological Classics- 1950-1951
Label: Classics
Year Of Release: 2003
Quality: FLAC (tracks+.cue)

01. Society Blues (3:27)
02. Won’t You Please Come Home, Bill Bailey (3:13)
03. Royal Garden Blues (3:10)
04. In the Groove (3:14)
05. Promenade aux Champs Elysees (3:16)
06. En attendant le jour (3:20)
07. Wolverine Blues (3:09)
08. Egyptian Fantasy (2:46)
09. Blues in the Cave (2:51)
10. King Porter Stomp (3:12)
11. Dutch Swing College Blues (2:58)
12. Kansas City Man Blues (3:34)
13. Together (2:59)
14. Apex Blues (3:04)
15. Sleepy Time Gal (2:49)
16. Of All the Wrongs… (3:18)
17. Darling Nelly Gray (2:43)
18. Mets ton vieux bonnet gris (Put on Your Old Grey Bonnet) (2:53)
19. Sidney’s Wedding Day (3:28)
20. Original Dixieland One Step (4:15)
21. Avalon (4:55)
22. That’s a Plenty (4:16)
23. Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives to Me (5:41)


One great thing about the Classics Chronological Series is that for the first time Sidney Bechet’s European recordings are completely available in context. Longtime collectors and devotees of Bechet are at last able to hear his Vogue sessions in their entirety, exactly as they occurred between periodic U.S. Blue Note blowouts. This allows for an unprecedented understanding of the man’s creative activity during the last ten years of his life. By the autumn of 1950, Bechet was established as the king of traditional jazz in Paris. Backed by the Claude Luter Orchestra, he casually grew into the role of presiding patriarch. First and foremost, there was a traditional jazz repertoire to be addressed, as in “Bill Bailey” and “Royal Garden Blues.” During the slow-paced “Society Blues,” Bechet nonchalantly quotes a pastoral lick from Rossini’s William Tell Overture, then shifts into “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”! Six selections recorded on May 4, 1951, are among the best examples of French jazz in the swing tradition. “En Attendant le Jour” is remarkably handsome. Valve trombonist Guy Longnon brings to mind the pleasantries of Jack Teagarden. “Egyptian Fantasy” is as dramatic as the original version recorded for Victor in 1941. But the real gem is “Blues in the Cave,” wherein Bechet sets up the tune with a seemingly informal but very theatrical spoken introduction. “Now boys, I want you all to gather ’round me. I wanna show you how easy it is to play a blues, a different blues. But in the meantime, you’ll stay right with the blues melody.” He then gives verbal instructions to each player, assigning parts and adding “Christian, you take over while I get my soprano.” The timing is impeccable and Bechet’s solo is one of his very best on record. Four days later, Bechet cut a couple of sides with the Orchestra of the Dutch Swing College in Hilversum, Holland. In a rare instance of discographic confusion, Classics has swapped titles on “King Porter Stomp” and “Dutch Swing College Blues.” Eight titles from the Parisian session of September 7, 1951, include a fine rendering of Jimmie Noone’s “Apex Blues” and the amiable melodies “Sleepy Time Gal” and “Together.” Both “Kansas City Man Blues” and “Of All the Wrongs You’ve Done to Me” date back to Bechet’s first days in New York during the early ’20s, while “Darling Nellie Gray” and “Put on Your Old Gray Bonnet” practically predate jazz itself. This excellent session closes with a theme borrowed from the Bechet/Mezzrow book, here titled “Sidney’s Wedding Day” in commemoration of his festive marriage to a very lucky French woman. Back in New York for a bit of work at the Blue Note studios, Bechet led five of his seasoned peers in the production of several outstanding traditional jazz records, taking full advantage of advanced recording technology. “Avalon” is nearly five minutes long and a relaxed, ambling “Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives to Me” clocks in at nearly twice the length of the old standard 10″ 78-rpm record. Two remaining tracks from this session may be found at the beginning of the next volume in Bechet’s Classics chronology.

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