This 14th installment in the chronological recordings of Sidney Bechet begins with two remaining tracks from a vigorous Blue Note blowing session starring world-class trumpeter Sidney DeParis. This would be the very last American studio recording session for Sidney Bechet. The rest of the material on this disc dates from January of 1952, and finds Le Grand Bechet once again surrounded by adoring and respectful Parisian musicians. "Ghost of the Blues" is an upbeat trot, "Strike Up the Band" is smartly swung, and "Si Tu Vois Ma Mere" is one of Bechet's florid, aromatic reflections. "Wabash Blues" is splendidly languid and "Mouche à Miel" sounds like a cousin to "Polka Dot Stomp." There are a couple of sunny parade-style numbers and a version of "As-Tu le Cafard?" that is noticeably hastier than a more moving live version from a few years later. "Old Black Magic" has Bechet shouting gruffly in French during the opening and again during the out chorus. It was at this point in his life that Bechet increased the scope of his repertoire to include popular melodies that would not have previously been associated with him, for example Cole Porter's "I Get a Kick Out of You." He also composed a number of marvelously lush melodies, most famously "Petite Fleur" and the lesser-known but very interesting paean to feminine strength and beauty simply entitled "Girls Dance." The disc closes with five tunes recorded live with spoken introductions at the Pleyel Jazz Concert in Paris on January 31, 1952. After ripping through the popular "Les Oignons," Bechet serves up a brusquely brisk version of "St. Louis Blues," a comfortably swaying rendition of Bennie Moten's "South," and a pair of slow love songs -- powerful, delectable pungent, and sweet.
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AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf