Sidney Bechet (featuring Ernie Caceres): What a Dream


What a Dream


Sidney Bechet (soprano sax)


Classic Sides 1937-1939 (Jsp Records: CD B)

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Sidney Bechet (soprano sax), Ernie Caceres (baritone sax),

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

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