#themusicologist [#809] Rocking Chair – Sidney Bechet


“In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do.” -Bob Marley


musicology #0747

Nubag #16 (a year in the life)

Sidney Bechet – Jungle Drums

long time comrades in, (musical), arms of the ‘project/diary/soundtrack’ will know that for me Sidney Bechet is one of the GIANTS of improvisation/jazz/recorded music etc.

One of the MASTERS of the art that I have been blessed enough to have stumbled across along ‘the way’. Apprentice’ and Journeymen are in abundance. Masters are few and far between.

Second time on themusicologist for this one..if i was asked “what is music?” i would pull this one out. listen to Bechet blow and how he drives the intensity, demanding that the other cats on the session step up.Which, of course, they do.

Had me nut down over the past few weeks studying for an exam I sat on Friday.

the incredible drawing is by the legendary, pioneer of contemporary neuroscience,  Ramon y Cajal.  Pathologist, histologist, neuroscientist, and Nobel laureate, (not to mention artist).

musicology #281

twolegendsclash #4

(Louis Armstrong – Weather Bird)

After deliberating ALL day on what piece of the Satchelmouth pie to serve, (and still not really coming up with a firm favourite), I’m just going to bite the bullet and lay this one down. A 1928 !!! cut featuring not only the improviser supreme but also one of the greatest players to ever tinkle the Ivories…Earl Hines.

Amazing duet that, to me, sounds almost like a whole orchestra such is the ‘fullness’ of the sound produced. One of his own compositions recorded for OKeh on December 5th 1928 in Chicago and the first to bear just his name, (all previous cuts were either featuring him or with an orchestra), What is impossible for us to comprehend is the impact that these 20’s cuts of his had. Granted there are probably players who came after him that could match his technique and as previously mentioned there were also those from before recording whose names shine bright but NONE of them had the same impact on 20th Century music. Louis blazed the trail for everyone who followed and not just in the field of instrumentals.

Ride on Mr Armstrong and let the Cats here know exactly what your’e talking about…

musicology #279

twolegendsclash #2

(Louis Armstrong & His Orchestra  – Them There Eyes)

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys, Girls, Cats, (and Dogs), please join me in welcoming into ‘the ring’, coming out of New Orleans Mr Louis, Satchelmouth, Pops, Armstrong undisputed King of the Horn. A Cat who is known the world over for spreading joy to millions and whose legacy and name is written across almost every page in the book of 20th Century music.

Before soaking up some top ranking swing a brief historical outline for those of us who know the name and even some of his more popular cuts but are maybe not as aware of his true genius and the life he lived as a young ragamuffin on the streets of one of America’s most dangerous Cities. That he climbed every mountain put in front of him is testament to his human as well as his musical qualities. A man who almost never let his bitterness at the injustice of the world he lived in get the better of him instead he chose to sing, dance, blow, laugh and smile his way through to the end of his days. Born August the 4th 1901in Uptown New Orleans to young parents, (his mother was 15), Little Louis, (and I use that term with the greatest respect), studied hard, eventually graduating with honours at the infamous University Of Life, spending almost all his youth on the streets listening, learning, hustling, ducking and diving to not only survive but to set his own agenda. So much has been written about the Cat that I’m not about to rewrite what is already known, (or available elsewhere on the information highway), so I’ll just start his contribution to the twolegendsclash with a quote from the great man:

“One Sunday our Pastor whom we all loved happened to take a Sunday off and sent in another preacher who wasn’t near as good. The whole Congregation frowned on him except one Sister. She seemed to enjoy the other Pastor same as she did our Pastor. This aroused the Congregation’s curiousity so much until when Church service was over they all rushed over to this one Sister and asked her why did she enjoy the substitute preacher the same as our regular one?, she said, “Well, when our pastor preach I can look right through him and see Jesus and when I hear a preacher who’s not as good as ours I just look over his shoulder and see Jesus just the same.” That applies to me all through my life in music ever since I left New Orleans. Iv’e been just like that Sister in our Church. I have played with quite a few musicians who weren’t so good. But as long as they could hold their instruments correct, and display their willingness to play as best they could, I would look over their shoulders and see Joe Oliver and several other great masters from my home town”

Recorded April 1931 in ‘Chi’ for the OKeh label

musicology #139

theGood,Bad&theUgly #6

(Sidney Bechet & The New Orleans Feetwarmers – Egyptian Fantasy )

penultimate day of the alternative soundtrack and it’s almost over. all three have managed to arrive at the cemetery and it’s time for the showdown. A winner takes all gunfight to the death…no prisoners taken.

Angel Eyes thinks he’s holding all the cards but Blondie has double crossed them both and is still the only one who knows the real name on the grave that contains the Gold. I’ll say no more and leave it to the man himself to elucidate…

the music is courtesy of virtuoso musician Sidney Bechet, (ably backed by ‘The New Orleans Feetwarmers), whose professional career stretches right back to the birth of ‘Jazz’ in New Orleans during the early 1900’s.

Along with ‘Duke’ and ‘Pops’ Bechet is credited with being instrumental, (no pun intended), in the development of the music that we know and love today and a listen to this should give you an indication as to why.

recorded in 1941 he plays both the clarinet and the soprano sax on this one and is joined by ‘The New Orleans Feetwarmers’

Henry Allen, (Trumpet), J.C Higginbotham, (Trombone), James Tolliver, (Piano), Wellman Braud, (Bass) and J.C Heard on drums.