Sidney Bechet: The Sheik of Araby


The Sheik of Araby


Sidney Bechet (clarinet, soprano & tenor saxes, piano, bass, drums)


Really The Blues (Living Era)

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Sidney Bechet (clarinet, soprano & tenor saxes, piano, bass, drums).

Composed by Ted Snyder, Harry B. Smith & Francis Wheeler


Recorded: New York, April 19, 1941


Rating: 87/100 (learn more)

This is Sidney Bechet's historic "one-man band" recording of a popular 1920s Tin Pan Alley tune with the first-ever overdubbing of instruments, all played by Bechet. After hearing from a technical person that it was possible, Sidney decided to give it a whirl. He worked hard for weeks to get the parts down on his various instruments before the session. The result, while interesting as a technical experiment, does not come off particularly well as pure music.

He begins with a cool rhythmic riff on the theme using tenor sax, and follows by successively adding other instruments. The tune is performed in sprightly, fairly engaging fashion. But the primitive overdubbing at times produces a somewhat odd overall sound and problems with balancing: the piano, bass and drums are so faint they seem hardly present at all. And beyond its audio deficiencies, this track proves that, when it comes to jazz, there is no substitute for the stimulating interaction with other musicians.

Reviewer: Dean Alger

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