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Sidney Bechet

Black History Month

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Black History Month and New Orleans - Sidney Bechet

One of the first important soloists in Jazz, Sidney Bechet, was born on May 14, 1897 in New Orleans to a wealthy Creole family. A musically gifted youth, he gave lessons to clarinetist Jimmie Noone when Bechet was only thirteen years old. His achievements on the clarinet gave him a reputation as one of Jazz’s greatest clarinetists for decades. After leaving New Orleans at twenty, Bechet alternated his time between Chicago, New York and Europe as the base for his musical operations. Bechet is best remembered for being the first great soprano saxophonist, though his mastery of the clarinet was not without notice.

In his career, Bechet composed many jazz and concert-work forms. His hits include 1923’s “Clarence Williams Blue Fice” with Louis Armstrong, popular 1938 “Summertime” and different recordings of his “Petit Fleur”. In 1944, 1946, and 1953 he recorded and performed in with Chicago Jazz Pianist, Max Miller, recordings which are part of the Max Miller archive and have never been released. These concerts and recordings are covered completely in John Chilton's great book on Bechet. Sidney passed away in 1959 in Paris at age 62 shortly after completing his autobiography, Treat It Gentle. Bechet was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame and his legend lives on as a New Orleans jazz master.

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