HomeJazzHappy 118th Birthday, Sidney Bechet Carl May 14, 2015 Jazz, Slider 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 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.