Sidney Bechet: Summertime




Sidney Bechet (soprano sax)


The Best Of Sidney Bechet (Blue Note B2-28891)

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Sidney Bechet (soprano sax), Meade Lux Lewis (piano), Teddy Bunn (guitar), Johnny Williams (bass), Sid Catlett (drums).

Composed by George Gershwin & DuBose Heyward


Recorded: New York, June 8, 1939


Rating: 100/100 (learn more)

Sidney Bechet's "Summertime" wasn't the initial jazz recording of the vocal soprano's plaintive aria from Gershwin's Porgy and Bess—Billie Holiday got there first (1936). But Bechet's was more authoritative, with its growling soprano sax, bluesy acoustic guitar and stately march-time harkening to his fin de siècle New Orleans roots, and evoking an authenticity missing from the white New York composer's would-be Negro "folk opera." Obviously, the jazzman who triggered a Parisian gunfight over how to play a song was not to be trifled with in matters of musical interpretation. Nobody could've conjured a hotter "Summertime."

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz

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