Monday, 4 July 2011

7. Sidney Bechet: Young Sidney Bechet

The only man that could keep up with Louis Armstrong's musicianship and blistering solos. A fellow New Orleanian, Bechet would actually record jazz's first solo a few months before Armstrong. This album represents the very first recordings of Bechet's career, from 1923 - 1925. In fact they are some of the only recordings he made in that decade as he was to spend the rest of it travelling around Europe, even getting as far as Russia.

The main body of the album focuses on his work with Clarence Williams. From the very first track, Wild Cat Blues, Bechet's sound and vibrato absolutely cuts through like a knife. His distinctive tone would carry him through the rest of his career. His love and ear for the blues is evident as he accompanies the early blues singers Sarah Martin (Blind Man Blues/Atlanta Blues), Rosetta Crawford (Down On The Levee Blues/Lonesome Woman Blues), Margaret Johnson (E Flat Blues) and Eva Taylor (Old Fashioned Love). However the tracks he recorded with Mamie Smith are glaring for their omission.

Without doubt though the standout tracks of the album are the ones he cut with Louis Armstrong. From the alternating solos in Texas Moaner Blues to Bechet's unusual sarrusophone solo in Mandy Make Up Your Mind to the sublime Cake Walking Babies From Home, neither player lets up.

An essential album.

1Wild Cat Blues2:59
2Kansas City Man Blues2:56
3Blind Man Blues3:12
4Atlanta Blues2:55
5'Tain't Nobody's Bus'ness If I Do2:49
6New Orleans Hop Scop Blues2:52
7Oh Daddy! Blues3:09
8Down On The Levee Blues3:25
9Lonesome Woman Blues2:57
10If I Let You Get Away With It Once, You'll Do It All Of The Time2:55
11E Flat Blues2:54
12Shreveport Blues2:54
13Old Fashioned Love3:00
14House Rent Blues2:59
15Mean Blues2:51
16Texas Moaner Blues3:09
17Early In The Morning2:57
18You've Got The Right Key, But The Wrong Keyhole3:14
19Mandy, Make Up Your Mind3:04
20I'm A Little Blackbird Looking For A Bluebird3:12
21Cake Walking Babies From Home2:54
22Pickin' On Your Baby3:19
23Papa De-Da-Da3:00
24Cake Walking Babies (From Home)3:01