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Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Sidney Bechet

Sidney Bechet, (1897-1959) was born in New Orleans. He began playing his brother's clarinet at the age of 6 playing at a family birthday party.

Bechet's primary instruments were the clarinet and the soprano sax.

During a 1919-20 tour of Europe with a concert group became the first jazz musician to receive critical attention.

He was one of the first important soloists in jazz (beating Louis Armstrong to the recording studio by several months.) Bechet recorded "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.

Sidney Bechet in 1922

After being found guilty of assaulting a woman, Bechet was imprisoned in London from September 13 to 26, 1922. He was jailed again in Paris in the late 1920s when a female passer-by was wounded during a shoot-out. After serving time in prison, Bechet was deported to the US.

 In 1953, he signed a recording contract with French Vogue, which lasted for the rest of his life. He recorded many hit tunes, including the international hit "Petite Fleur."

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