Lionized and showered with honors, Sidney Bechet settled down in Paris during the early 1950s, performing regularly in the company of traditional-minded French musicians before enthusiastic, jazz-loving audiences. Volume 15 in the Classics Sidney Bechet chronology presents two live concert performances recorded at Salle Pleyel, Paris on January 31 and March 12, 1952. Nominally co-led with clarinetist Claude Luter, Bechet's bands churn out spirited renditions of classic jazz standards with a hale and hearty emphasis upon the historical New Orleans and Dixieland revival repertoire. Thanks to the then-newly introduced long-playing record format, some of these preserved jams extend into the eight and nine-minute range, well beyond the formerly imposed 78 rpm, three-and-a-half minute mark. A brilliant improviser and always a commanding presence, Sidney Bechet on this album is mature perfection personified. This wonderfully exciting music is greatly enhanced by the cheering crowds who go wild with joy nearly every time a title is announced.
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