This label's series of jazz reissues in the 70s may have been extensive, but the recordings tend to come with minimal information. This one basically gives us a widely reprinted 1919 description of the traditional jazz giant that many younger musicians used to call "the Old Man." Besides this quote about Sidney Bechet there is nothing else but, at least, the session credits. In typical CBS confusion, this is a sandwich of two 1947 sessions and one from nine years earlier, but it is a consistently engaging series of tracks and would definately clue a listener in on what all the fuss is about with this jazz legend. There is plenty of the Bechet soprano, and he sounds fantastic here; in fact, the album kicks off with "Polka Dot Stomp," where his tone might be mistaken for a tray of chocolate eclairs. Other heroes of the swing era, such as pianist Dick Wellstood, drummer Zutty Singleton, bassist Pops Foster, and the gentle, under-rated guitarist Leonard Ware, are part of the attractive aroma of these cooking sessions. There's a generous portion of Bechet's originals, such as the beautiful "What a Dream" and "Jungle Drums," where Singleton gets to toss some nifty tom-tom rolls at us, unfortunately under-recorded.
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AllMusic Review by Eugene Chadbourne