on November 26, 2012
The box of this fantastic set describes Sidney Bechet as the "musical Mohammed Ali," an assertion that is difficult to argue, especially when one listens to some of the sides included here. The selection is fun and eclectic, featuring Bechet's recordings with Louis Armstrong, Tommy Ladnier, Meade "Lux" Lewis, Jelly Roll Morton, Noble Sissle, Muggsy Spanier, and Josh White, among others.
The best tracks are probably the hot and wild pieces from the New Orleans Feetwarmers (especially "Lay Your Racket", "Maple Leaf Rag", and "Shag"). However, there are just so many more, like "Dear Old Southland" (I'm referring to the Noble Sissle version with Bechet's killer opening), "Viper Mad", "Jack, I'm Mellow", "What a Dream", "Colonel Bogey", and "I Thought I Heard Buddy Bolden Say", that really make this set a must-buy! And to hear Louis Armstrong's vocals and trumpet alongside Bechet's soprano sax on a track like "2.19 Blues" is really something, especially considering the rivalry between the two jazz masters. Highly recommended!
on March 26, 2007
When I first started listening to jazz, I never cared much for him. That earthquake-like vibrato of his kept me from appreciating his true artistry as much as I should have. Later on though, I could hear how much life he added to sessions by the likes of Jelly Roll Morton and the New Orleans Feetwarmers. One listen to the 12 numbers in this set by the Haitian Orchestra was enough for me, and it caused me to take a star off this review. This was perhaps unfair, because most of this 4 CD set is great (My favorite is the 2 versions of "My Daddy Rocks Me", with its' hilarious lyrics, earthy vocals, and especially his exciting licks. And also the blues and sessions with Jelly Roll). He was a true soul man and pioneer.