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CLASSIC RECORDINGS BY A JAZZ GIANT,
This review is from: The Essential Collection (Audio CD)
This is a reissue of an earlier 2-CD set from Avid, which was titled "Shake 'Em Up" and curiously at time of writing seems to be still available, albeit at a higher price. It spans 1938 to 1947, runs for just over two and a half hours, and was highly praised at the time by Dave Gelly, The Observer's jazz critic. It comprises the four Noble Sissle sides from February 1938, Bechet's November 1938 session, the three 1939 Blue Note sides (two Port of Harlem and one by the Quintet), two trio sides accompanying Josh White,and all the 1940 Bechet-Spanier Big Four recordings, including the two alternate takes.
All of which only just gets us to the second CD! Bechet recorded two numbers as a one-man band, playing clarinet, soprano sax, tenor sax, piano and, on "The Sheik of Araby", bass and drums also. No mean technical accomplishment in the days of direct to wax recording. Three 1943 sides by his New Orleans Feetwarmers lead into six numbers with Art Hodes' Blue Note Jazzmen, and three with the Joe Sullivan Jazz Quartet, all from 1945. In July 1947 Bechet recorded with Bob Wilbur's Wildcats, and later that month with his own quartet.
These are classic recordings by a man who was the master of his instruments, and who with his unique sound could more than hold his own in any company. I suspect the earlier release is more fully annotated but at this price to complain would be to look a gift horse in the mouth.