Regarded as one of the fathers of improvisational jazz, clarinettist Sidney Bechet is perhaps one of the most important figures in the history of jazz.
This set collects a series of recordings from his earliest recordings in 1923 through to 1950, showcasing Bechet's great talents. He takes old standards and re-invents them, or performs stunning originals. In either case the tunes are inventive and swinging. Strongly rooted in the New Orleans style, you can see the birth of the improvisational/ freeform jazz movement of Coltrane and Davis.
Proper have, as usual, done a great job with this collection. The four discs are presented in slipcases, gathered together into a sturdy card outer. There is a 56 pg booklet loaded with photos and a fascinating biography of Bechet. The recordings themselves are in very good shape for their age and have been nicely cleaned up. For the price being asked, this is a steal. My only slight gripe is that there is no copy his wonderful `Petite Fluer', made famous by Chris Barber in the late `50's. Bechet had a long career and it is impossible to put all his recordings here, there will always be some dissent at the editor's choice of tracks for inclusion, and in the main a very good series of selections have been made.
Recommended for all fans of swinging New Orleans style jazz. If you like this then also check out the `Bix Beiderbecke Story' (also Proper) and the `Complete Louis Armstrong Hot Fives and Sevens' recordings.