Sidney Bechet (featuring Ernie Caceres): What a Dream
What a Dream
Sidney Bechet (soprano sax)
Classic Sides 1937-1939 (Jsp Records: CD B)
Dave Bowman (piano), Leonard Ware (guitar), Harry Turner (bass), Zutty Singleton (drums).
Composed by Sidney Bechet.
Recorded: New York, November 16, 1938
Rating: 95/100 (learn more)
November 1938 was a standout in the career of Sidney Bechet. Mid-month, he recorded "Chant in the Night," "Hold Tight," "Jungle Drums" and "What a Dream" (all on this CD) with the unique support of Ernie Caceres's baritone sax and Leonard Ware's electric guitar. Two weeks later, Sidney and Mezz Mezzrow shared reed duties on a Bluebird date for the Tommy Ladnier Orchestra that resulted in "Ja Da," "Weary Blues" and "Really the Blues" – all classic Bechet recordings (and all also on this CD). While the latter session may be better known, the earlier soprano/baritone hookup yielded some of Bechet's more remarkable recordings.
Bechet and Caceres are involved in a direct dialogue throughout much of "What a Dream." Caceres answers Bechet's calls throughout the first statement of the melody, with Bechet delivering the goods and Caceres improvising in and around him. The two then engage in a brief trading session, featuring an impassioned Caceres doing his best to keep up with the master. Guitarist Ware then temporarily takes Sidney's solo position before a high-voltage Bechet returns and handles the concluding improvisation himself. Up until that point, though, this track had consistently highlighted the powerful possibilities of the baritone sax as both a refreshing voice in a supportive role and a commanding voice in a lead role. It's a somewhat unanticipated and altogether enjoyable performance: a shining moment in the recorded history of both underdog saxophones represented.
Reviewer: Eric Novod