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Sydney Bechet

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  • The Grand Master Of The Soprano Saxophone (Pure Pleasure) The Grand Master Of The Soprano Saxophone (Pure Pleasure) Quick View

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    The Grand Master Of The Soprano Saxophone (Pure Pleasure)

    Sidney Bechet's historic recordings for Blue Note and RCA Victor tend to overshadow some of his other work because they have been reissued more frequently, though there are lesser-known dates worth acquiring as well. This Columbia LP compiles three separate recording sessions made between 1938 and 1947. Bechet sticks almost exclusively to soprano sax throughout each of them and has ample space for his solos, full of his trademark heavy vibrato.

    The earliest set matches him with drummer Zutty Singleton, bassist Henry Turner, and guitarist Leonard Ware (all members of his working band at the time), along with pianist Dave Bowman and baritone saxophonist Ernie Caceres. The Bechet-Singleton collaboration Jungle Drums has delightful solos by the two reeds, along with Singleton's exotic tom-toms.

    Six tracks come from a 1947 quartet with pianist Lloyd Phillips, bassist Pops Foster, and either Freddie Moore or Arthur Herbert on drums. Bechet's swinging tribute to a legendary jazzman, Buddy Bolden Stomp, a romp through Just One Of Those Things, and a heartfelt arrangement of Laura are the highlights of this session.

    Another 1947 session gives a preview of the future of classic jazz, featuring a sextet led by Bechet's star pupil, a young Bob Wilber, along with Dick Wellstood, who would rise to fame as a master stride interpreter. Bechet plays soprano sax and Wilber sticks to clarinet on two numbers, though they switch roles on Kansas City Man Blues. While Wilber doesn't have Bechet's strong vibrato on soprano sax, they are harder to tell apart on clarinet.

    -Ken Dryden/AMG


    • Sydney Bechet (soprano saxophone)

    • Ernie Caceras (bassoon)

    • Bob Mielke (trombone)

    • Bob Wilber (clarient)

    • Lloyd Phillips (piano)

    • Dave Bowman (piano)

    • Leonard Ware (electric guitar)

    • Henry Turner (bass)

    • George Pops" Foster (bass)

    • Zutty Singleton (drums)

    • Arthur Herbert (drums)

    Recording: November 1938 and July 1947

    About Pure Pleasure

    At the beginning of the 90s, in the early days of audiophile vinyl re-releases, the situation was fairly straightforward. Companies such as DCC, Mobile Fidelity, Classic Records and, of course, Pure Pleasure all maintained a mutual, unwritten ethical code: we would only use analogue tapes to manufacture records.

    During the course of the present vinyl hype, many others have jumped on the bandwagon in the hope of securing a corner of the market. Very often they are not so ethical and use every imaginable source to master from: CDs, LPs, digital files, MP3s - or employed existent tools from the 80s and 90s for manufacturing.

    A digital delay is gladly used when cutting a lacquer disc because tape machines with an analogue delay have become quite rare and are therefore expensive. When cutting the lacquer, the audio signal is delayed by one LP revolution against the signal, which controls the cutter head, and for this a digital delay is very often employed. Of course, the resultant sound signal is completely digital and thus only as good as this delay.

    We should like to emphasize that Pure Pleasure Records on principle only uses the original master tape as the basis for the entirely analogue cutting of lacquer discs. In addition, the pressing tool is newly manufactured as a matter of principle.

    We only employ existing tools for manufacturing if an improved result is not forthcoming, e.g. the title Elvis Is Back, which was mastered by Steve Hoffman and Kevin Gray, or several titles from our Philips Classics series, which in any case Willem Makkee cut from the original masters at the Emil Berliner Studios in the 90s. It goes without saying that we only used the mother and that new tools were made for our production.

    To put it in a nutshell: we can ensure you that our releases are free from any kind of digital effects and that the lacquer discs are newly cut.

    1. Love For Sale
    2. I Had It, But It's All Gone Now
    3. Jungle Drums
    4. Buddy Bolden Stomp
    5. My Woman's Blues
    6. Polka Dot Stomp
    7. Laura
    8. Just One Of Those Things
    9. Kansas City Man Blues
    10. Shake 'em Up
    11. Chant In The Night
    12. The Song Of Songs
    13. What A Dream
    Sydney Bechet
    180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP Mono - Sealed Buy Now
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