New Orleans Feetwarmers
New Orleans Feetwarmers
Forceful delivery, well-constructed improvisations, and a distinctive, wide vibrato characterized Bechet's playing. Sidney Bechet The big rise of Bechet career may be related to the year 1934. In 1934 Bechet joins Noble Sissle and starts winning space as soloist 'until 1938, when he starts a career as leader of diverse orchestras, always inspired by New Orleans traditions. In fact, would earn wide acclaim in the 40s as part of Dixieland revival movement of the late forties, often recording with Mezz Mezzrow. During this decade, he worked regularly in New York with Eddie Condon and tried to start a band with Bunk Johnson.
Bechet relocated to France in 1950, where he married Elisabeth Ziegler in 1951. He became a celebrity in the traditional french jazz movement playing in the orchestras of clarinetists Claude Luter and André Reweliotty. Existentialists in France called him "Le dieu". He is also remembered by playing in 1925 Joséphine Baker's debut in Paris in a vaudeville show called Revue Négre.
Shortly before his death in Paris, Sidney dictated his poetic autobiography, Treat It Gentle. He died from lung cancer on his sixty-second birthday. Highlights Sidney Bechet (May 14, 1897 – May 14, 1959) was was born in New Orleans to a wealthy Creole family and 'Discovered' at the age of six. Bechet (pronounced buh-SHAY) quickly learned the clarinet by picking up his brother's horn and teaching himself. Later in his youth, studied with such renowned Creole clarinetists as Lorenzo Tio, 'Big Eye' Louis Nelson, and George Baquet.
Soon after, Bechet would be found playing in many New Orleans ensembles, improvising with what was 'acceptable' for jazz at that time (obbligatos, with scales and arpeggios). From 1914-1917 he was touring and traveling, going as far north as Chicago, and frequently teaming up with another famous Creole musician, Freddie Keppard. In the spring of 1919, he traveled to New York, where he joined Will Marion Cook's Syncopated Orchestra. Soon after, the orchestra journeyed to Europe where, almost immediately, they performed at the Royal Philharmonic Hall. The group was warmly received, and Bechet was especially popular, attracting attention near and far.
 While in London, Bechet discovered the straight soprano saxophone, and quickly developed a style quite unlike his warm, reedy clarinet tone. Described as "emotional", "reckless", and "large", he would often use a very broad vibrato, similar to what was common for some New Orleans clarinetists at the time. Recordings Bechet returned to New York from Europe in 1922, and on July 30, 1923, began recording some of his earliest surviving studio work. The session was led by Clarence Williams, a pianist and songwriter, better known at that time for his music publishing and record producing. Bechet recorded the "Wild Cat Blues" and "Kansas City Man Blues".
"Wild Cat Blues" is in a multi-thematic ragtime tradition, with four themes, at sixteen bars each, and "Kansas City Man Blues" is a genuine 12-bar blues. Bechet interpreted and played each uniquely and with outstanding creativity and innovation for the time. He continued recording and touring, although his success was intermittent. Many of his compositions are inspired by his love for France and New Orleans tradition. They include “Petite Fleur”, “Rue des Champs Elysees”, and “Si tous vois ma mere”. Other compositions include “Chant in the Night”, “Blues in the Air”, “Bechet's Fantasy”, and his ode to his Brooklyn home “Quincy Street Stomp”.
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