Premiere Bal – 1958

Sidney Bechet

A beautiful melody played the great soprano-saxophonist

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Sidney Bechet (1897-1959) was not only one of the very first jazz soloists to record but one of the most individual.

Originally a New Orleans clarinetist who eventually switched exclusively to soprano, Bechet had his own sound, was a virtuoso, and was easily identifiable within two notes.

During his last decade, he lived and played in France where he was thought of as a national treasure.

On this 1958 telecast, Bechet talks a little bit in French about jazz to actress Simone Alma and then, with the accompaniment of pianist Claude Bolling, bassist Alf Masselier and drummer Arthur Motta, plays his beautiful original “Premier Bal” in a restrained but quietly emotional fashion.

-Scott Yanow


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