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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



House Party

Original 1943-1952 recordings

NAXOS JAZZ Legends 8.120741



  1. V Disc Blues: Bugle Call Rag/Ole Miss
  2. After Youíve Gone
  3. House party
  4. Blood On the Moon
  5. Saw Mill Blues
  6. Old School
  7. Out of the Gallion
  8. Bowiní the Blues
  9. De Luxe Stomp
  10. Evil Gal Blues
  11. Really the Blues
  12. Breathless Blues
  13. The Broken windmill
  14. Black & Blue
  15. Box Car Shorty
  16. When Itís Sleepy Time Down South
  17. At the Jazz Band Ball
  18. Petite Fleur
  19. Les Oignons

Nobody ever failed to recognise Sidney Bechet; he had a big sound and a big vibrato. He was also a very important figure in jazz, being the first major player to make the Soprano saxophone his main instrument. Bechet is one of those players that you either like or hate, there is no in between. He preferred to play the lead line, taking the place of the Cornet or Trumpet in the traditional jazz line up.

The first two tracks have him paired with that excellent trombonist Vic Dickenson and that combination works well. Mezz Mezzrow is involved in the next ten tracks, not one of my favourite jazz clarinettists! Track 3,4&5 however have the benefit of the very talented Hot Lips Page on trumpet. Tracks 6 to 12 feature the Mezzrow-Bechet Quintet, which Bechet used on a lot of his recordings.

Track 13 has Bechet featured with Bob Wilburís Band, Bob was a Bechet student who later developed his own individual style and worked with many bands including that of Benny Goodman, it is said that Benny was very impressed with Wilburís clarinet playing, which was a real complement!

Tracks 14 to 16 have Bechet working with Humphís Band, which included Keith Christie and Wally Fawkes at the time. Keith of course moved on top be a star of the Ted Heath Band. For most of the latter part of his life Bechet lived in France where he was a national celebrity, the last two tracks feature him the band of Claude Luter.

Bechet has a significant place in jazz history; he spent more time in the Europe than in the USA and is significantly better known on this side of the Atlantic Ocean therefore.

The album has a good sleeve note by Scott Yanow and comprehensive personnel listings; it is very representative of Bechetís recorded work.

Don Mather


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