Sidney Bechet

Brussels Fair '58

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After moving to Europe for good, Sidney Bechet was revered by jazz fans on the continent and remained active until shortly before his death in 1959. These excerpts from a 1958 concert in Brussels, Belgium find the soprano saxophonist still exhibiting the strong vibrato and vivid imagination that made him stand alone on the instrument. With trumpeter Buck Clayton and trombonist Vic Dickenson easily fitting into Bechet's New Orleans Jazz style, the sextet offers six swinging performances. Following the rousing rendition of "(Back Home Again In) Indiana," Bechet indulges in a gutbucket treatment of his original "Society Blues." But it is hard to top his extended workout of the traditional favorite, "When the Saints Go Marching In," which generously features the rhythm section (pianist George Wein, bassist Arvell Shaw, and drummer Kansas Fields, though Bechet easily takes top solo honors for the concert. Strangely, this excellent LP has been overlooked as a reissue candidate, so consider it somewhat difficult to acquire.

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