Sidney Bechet

Blues in the Air [Fabulous/Acrobat]

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It's too bad in a sense that Louis Armstrong gets all the attention for early-period jazz when fellow New Orleanian Sidney Bechet was just as vital, and in his time assuredly as influential. These 22 tracks display the immortal clarinetist/soprano saxophonist in his prime around the early '30s. While not an essential collection, there are many of his most well-played numbers here, including "Summertime," "China Boy," "The Sheikh of Araby," "Limehouse Blues," "Rose Room," "Jazz Me Blues," and "Muskrat Ramble." A good starter set for students or a compacted package of a much larger discography for mavens, this is a welcome piece of classic vintage jazz that can be easily recommended.

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