Personnel: Sidney Bechet (clarinet, soprano saxophone); Coot Grant (vocals); Danny Barker (guitar); Mezz Mezzrow (clarinet); Hot Lips Page (trumpet); Fitz Weston, Sammy Price (piano); Kaiser Marshall, Big Sid Catlett (drums).
Recording information: 07/30/1945-12/20/1947.
Photographer: William Gottlieb.
Sidney Bechet (1897-1959), who managed to be recorded even before his contemporary and occasional musical partner, Louis Armstrong, remains one of jazz's most important and distinctive soloists. Though a great clarinetist, Bechet was best known for his intense, vibrato-laden tone on the soprano saxophone (an influence on musicians as diverse as Bob Wilber, Johnny Hodges, and avant-gardists Steve Lacy and Albert Ayler). While he never progressed beyond the traditional New Orleans/Dixieland style, Bechet was always a colorful and vibrant presence on the scene, and MASTERS OF JAZZ makes for a fine introduction to this master's later recordings.