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Box of Delights,
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This review is from: The Complete American Masters 1931-1953 (Audio CD)
There is little to say about the genius of Sidney Bechet that has not been said many times before. He was the equal of Louis Armstrong in his remarkable improvisational gift, but less well recognised by the general public, probably because he lacked Armstrong's natural flair as an all round entertainer. Bechet, by all accounts, was a far pricklier customer. When musical tastes turned against his style of traditional Jazz, and he found it harder to get work, rather that adapting his musical approach, he gave up playing music professionally all together, opening a tailors and dry-cleaning business in Harlem. He then was re-discovered in the forties, and enjoyed great and well deserved acclaim, eventually settling in France.
This set of 14 cds-at an incredible bargain price- is an absolutely indispensable purchase for anyone who has ever fallen under the spell of this wonderful musician-''the Jazz Wizard'', as his biographer John Chilton dubbed him. I'm not enough of an expert on Bechet's discography to comment on just how ''complete''it actually is, but it seems to cover fairly comprehensively the entire career of this incredible musician, from his earliest recordings of the 1920s, through to his Indian Summer recordings with the legendary Blue Note records of the 1950s. I've now listened to all of the discs, and there are treasures to be found on each and every one of them, culminating in some rare live and privately made recordings on the final disc. Throughout it all, fresh and exciting melodies seem to pour effortlessly from Bechet's clarinet, and saxophone, whatever the era, the musical company, or the material. The re-mastering is also first rate.What else can I say-it's a must!