Sidney Bechet

Weary Blues

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Released in 1996, Jazz Hour's Weary Blues is a sampler of classic Sidney Bechet performances containing 20 recordings made for the Decca, Vocalion, Bluebird, and Blue Note labels between February 10, 1938 and June 4, 1940. Bechet is heard wielding clarinet and soprano sax with Noble Sissle's Swingsters, Jelly Roll Morton's New Orleans Jazzmen, with bands led by trumpeters Tommy Ladnier and Louis Armstrong, and as leader of his own powerfully driven ensembles including the famous New Orleans Feetwarmers. Highlights include Ernie Caceres' baritone saxophone (tracks five through eight), Wilson Myers' slithering bowed bass behind Bechet's vocal on "Sidney's Blues," Kenny Clarke's inspired drumming on the "One O'Clock Jump," the grand chemistry of Ladnier, Bechet, and Mezz Mezzrow on "^Weary Blues," and "Really the Blues," and Bechet's almost frightening cathartic intensity on the June 8, 1939 realization of "Summertime," which was in effect a grieving ritual for Ladnier who had passed away just four days earlier at the age of 39. Altogether an excellent taste of Bechet at his best; for expanded access to similar territory try JSP's four-CD set titled Pre-War Classic Sides, released in 2007.

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