Sidney Bechet: Complete Edition, Vol. 1, 1923

Sidney Bechet

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Sidney Bechet: Complete Edition, Vol. 1, 1923 Review

by arwulf arwulf

Focusing on a time between July 30 to November 10, 1923, this very thorough chronology gives a glimpse of Bechet the recording artist at a time when jazz was only just beginning to make its way onto phonograph records. The eight instrumental performances come across most powerfully. Cornet legend Thomas Morris interacts wonderfully with Bechet, and the inclusion of personably soulful trombonist Charlie Irvis provides substantial support. The vocalists do what they are able to with 1923's available material; from the ridiculous ("I've Got the 'Yes! We Have No Bananas' Blues") to the sublime ("Atlanta Blues"), what this is is a fascinating cross section of jazz in its infancy. While other Bechet retrospectives might offer more instant gratification, this package delivers that most vital component of true comprehension: historical context. Bechet invariably shines with his own ideas and tonalities, making even the droopiest slow drag performances well worth having. Liner notes include useful solo listings. This is an excellent taste of early jazz, suitable for both seasoned collectors and those who are just beginning to investigate the genre.