Sunday, August 13, 2017

Straight Horning: Sidney Bechet - The New Orleans Feetwarmers

Today I've spent some time hanging with the master takes from Sidney Bechet's Victor Recordings. The New Orleans Feetwarmers from 1932 - with Bechet (ss/cl) Tommy Ladnier (trpt) Teddy Nixon (trb) Hank Duncan (p) Wilson Myers (b/v) Morris Morand (d) and Billy Maxey (v) - is my favorite Bechet. I consider this session essential listening - high energy, so swinging, and a great fat soprano. "I Found a New Baby," "Maple Leaf Rag", "Shag" etc... make sure you check them out!
Mikerphone Beer

Across the 3 discs there's plenty fine playing and a few curious numbers too. The overdubbed tracks ("The Sheik of Araby" and "Blues of Bechet") from 1941 feature Bechet playing all the instruments (soprano, clarinet, tenor sax, piano, bass, and drums). Fun stuff.

I still feel Bechet is underrated, and while I'm at it, another interesting recording I've only recently bumped into is The John Reid Collection from the Arkansas Arts Center. I picked this disc up as it features Bechet, unaccompanied, playing "Maple Leaf Rag" (mellower than the '32 recording and "Baby I'd Love to Steal You." Plus there's a recording of him playing along with a recording of Bunk Johnson playing an unaccompanied version of "Weary Blues." Maybe not for the casual fan but fascinating nonetheless.

Listening to the Feetwarmers made me start to think about some other favorites of mine. Just a taste quickly off the top of my head....probably not many surprises there for those of you who know me. Connie Crothers, Richard Tabnik, Hayden Chisholm, and Lenny Popkin deserve a mention too - I need to dedicate some time and write about them - but I'll limit myself to older recordings..... for now.
Billie Holiday: "A Sailboat in the Moonlight," "What a Little Moonlight Can Do," "I'll Get By," "I Can't Give You Anything But Love Baby," "Laughing at Life" and many others.
Lester Young: "Shoe Shine Boy", "Lady Be Good", the Kanas City Sessions, and many more.
Roy Eldridge: "Body and Soul" (normally not much of a fan of double time ballads but here's an exception!), "Sittin' In", "I Surrender Dear"
Charlie Christian: "Swing to Bop", "Ad Lib Blues"
Louis Armstrong: "Hotter that That," "I Can't Give You Anything But Love Baby," "Struttin' with Some BBQ"
Warne Marsh: "Yardbird Suite", "Remember" "The Song is You", "Marshmallow"
Lennie Tristano: "Bud", "Stretch" "Tiger Rag", "Background Music"
Lee Konitz: the early New Jazz/Prestige recordings in particular came to mind immediately.
I'll leave it there before the list gets out of control!

Regarding the beer... it's Mikerphone "Cat's in the Cradle" and I felt the chalice was appropriate glassware while enjoying some Bechet.

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