Sidney Bechet & Earl Hines: Blues In Thirds


Blues In Thirds


Sidney Bechet (clarinet)


The Originals - The Aristocrat of Jazz (YOYO USA, Inc.)

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Sidney Bechet (clarinet), Earl Hines (piano), Baby Dodds (drums).

Composed by Earl Hines


Recorded: Chicago, IL, September 6, 1940


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

This classic recording fortuitously came about when a memorial session was set up in September 1940 to honor the memory of the recently departed clarinetist Johnny Dodds. Earl Hines had recorded a solo piano version of "Blues in Thirds" (also known as "Caution Blues") in 1928, and would play it regularly for decades after, but nothing topped this trio interpretation with Sidney Bechet and Johnny's younger brother, Warren "Baby" Dodds. These artists were three of the earliest dominant individual stylists and soloists in jazz, original and adventurous on their respective instruments. This track, though, is a relatively restrained, simply sublime three-minute example of blues playing at its best.

Hines talked of Bechet being in a bad mood on the day "Blues in Thirds" was put on wax, but there is no sign of any friction or tension to be heard in this performance. Hines initially establishes the loping, relaxed pace, embellishing his blues theme with nimble, tumbling runs and piquant chords, as Dodds utilizes subdued New Orleans-style bass drum accents in oddly effective contrast. Bechet enters with a swelling tone as he infectiously articulates the unpretentious, legato blues line, adding expressive rasps and penetrating low notes to further personalize his message. Hines augments him with some semi-stride counterpoint, backed by Dodds's shuffling rhythmic pulse. As the piece draws to a close, Bechet raises the intensity level, with Hines now spiritedly paraphrasing the theme.

Reviewer: Scott Albin

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