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Happy 118th Birthday, Sidney Bechet

All About Jazz reports that the very important clarinet and saxophone player Sidney Bechet was born on May 14, 1897. He died — also on May 14 — in 1959.

Here is more about Bechet from Wikipedia:

He was one of the first important soloists in jazz (beating cornetist and trumpeterLouis Armstrong to the recording studio by several months[3] and later playing duets with Armstrong), and was perhaps the first notable jazz saxophonist. Forceful delivery, well-constructed improvisations, and a distinctive, wide vibrato characterized Bechet’s playing.

Bechet’s erratic temperament hampered his career, however, and not until the late 1940s did he earn wide acclaim.

Above is a poorly synched but great version of “On the Sunny Side of the Street.” The YouTube notes say that, in addition to Bechet on clarinet, the personnel for the performance, which was at the 1958 Festival de Jazz in Cannes, included Teddy Buckner on trumpet, Vic Dickenson on trombone, Sammy Price on piano and J.C. Heard on drums. The notes say that the performance was at the Festival de Jazz in Cannes.

Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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