The First Real Critical Discussion of Jazz It was in 1918, that a young Swiss writer by the name of Ernest Ansermet saw a performance of Will Marion Cook's Southern Syncopated Orchestra. Cook's Orchestra played mostly ragtime numbers and spirituals and featured a young clarinetist by the name of Sidney Bechet who left a lasting impression on the writer.
Sidney Bechet truly led the life of a jazz musician. He was a supporter of Dixieland Jazz who played the clarinet and was the first person to play Jazz on a Soprano Saxophone. Domineering is a word frequently used to express his music. Various fights showed he had a short temper that reflects in his music.Bechet was one of the first jazz musicians to be appreciated by classical audiences and critics and to be rated on a par with Louis Armstrong by the New Orleans jazz aficionados, not to mention by Duke Ellington (whose lead alto sax player, Johnny Hodges, had, in his teens, studied with Bechet).Ansermet was one of the first in the field of classical music to take jazz seriously, and in 1919 he wrote an article praising Sidney Bechet. After World War II, Ansermet and his orchestra rose to international prominence through a long-term contract with Decca Records.
This article reviews the pictorial obituary of Sidney Bechet, which emphasizes youthful epiphanies and international recognition. It first studies Ernest Ansermet's views and theories about jazz and race, and then looks at Bechet's activities during the 1920s and early 1930s. This is followed by a discussion of Bechet's discovery in France at the 1949 festival and his subsequent rise to fame.
Courtesy of Louisiana State Museum. Sidney Bechet. Unidentified. C larinetist and soprano saxophonist Sidney Bechet was one of the first great soloists of traditional New Orleans jazz.Renowned for his lyrical, swinging phrases, emotional blues sensibility, and ample use of vibrato, Bechet continues to exert vast influence on the traditional jazz scene in New Orleans and elsewhere.
The first great jazz soloist, rather than one of the first—and beating trumpeter Louis Armstrong to the honour—Bechet was first written about seriously in 1919 by the musicologist and orchestral conductor Ernest Ansermet. Ansermet was an intimate of Debussy and Ravel who heard the young Bechet with a touring African-American company.
These are Ansermet’s 1919 appreciation of Will Marion C ook and Sidney Bechet (abridged). William Russell’s “Notes On Boogie-Woogie’, and Ross Russell’s mainly biographical piece on James P. Johnson. The Ansermet is a classic, and the others well deserve re-anthologizing, although better work has been done on James P. Johnson since.
Sidney Bechet is one of the best-loved musicians of early jazz. His music is fundamental to its development and central to the story of New Orleans clarinet. And he was the first to introduce soprano saxophone to jazz.
Accolades (mentioned above) given to Sidney Bechet by Swiss conductor Ernest Ansermet appear in Revue Romande. This article is the first serious article on Jazz to appear anywhere. In February, James Reese Europe and his Hellfighters return home. They go on a tour of the U.S. in the Spring.
In 1919, Ernest Ansermet, a Swiss conductor of classical music, wrote a tribute to Bechet, one of the earliest (if not the first) to a jazz musician from the field of classical music, linking Bechet's music with that of Bach. In 1968, Bechet was inducted into Down Beat magazine's Jazz Hall of Fame.
In that year he toured Europe with the Southern Syncopated Orchestra, becoming the first jazz musician ever to be praised by a distinguished classicist, the Swiss conductor Ernest Ansermet. Through the 1920s Bechet gradually concentrated on the soprano saxophone, working briefly with his great admirer Ellington in 1925 before touring Europe again.
On this edition of Riverwalk Jazz in first person accounts based on the jazzman's autobiography, Broadway's Vernel Bagneris explores two sides of Sidney Bechet's personality that influenced his career. And soprano sax legend Bob Wilber, who studied with Bechet, joins The Jim Cullum Jazz Band to perform music associated with the artist.
Sidney Bechet was the first important jazz soloist on records in history (beating Louis Armstrong by a few months). A brilliant soprano saxophonist and clarinetist with a wide vibrato that listeners either loved or hated, Bechet's style did not evolve much through the years but he never lost his enthusiasm or creativity.
He was a mean old daddy, but his music captured the spirit and essence of jazz in the Twenties and on into the Fifties. Phil Johnson look at the life and swinging times of Sidney Bechet.
As early as 1919, only two years after the Original Dixieland Jass Band made the first jazz recordings, Bechet’s playing caught the ear of the distinguished Swiss conductor Ernest Ansermet, who praised its “richness of invention, force of accent, and daring in novelty and the unexpected.”.
I corresponded with Mark Miller, the Toronto-based jazz historian, over the weekend. Miller wrote on Friday with information challenging the long-held assertion that Ernst Ansermet’s 1919 review singling out Sidney Bechet for praise was the first piece on jazz by an established authority.
He toured widely in Europe and America and became famous for accurate performances of difficult modern music, making first recordings of works such as Stravinsky's Capriccio with the composer as soloist. Ansermet was one of the first in the field of classical music to take jazz seriously, and in 1919 he wrote an article praising Sidney Bechet.