Jacques Gauthé & The Creole Rice Jazz Band: Blues for Bechet


Blues for Bechet


The Creole Rice Jazz Band


Echoes of Sidney Bechet (Good Time Jazz 15006-2)

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Jacques Gauthé (soprano sax),

Duke Heitger (trumpet), Mike Owen (trombone), Steve Pistorius (piano), Lars Edegran (guitar), Tom Saunders (bass), Chris Tyle (drums)


Composed by Jacques Gauthé


Recorded: New Orleans, LA, January 27-29, 1997


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

For many years, one of the unexpected pleasures of visiting New Orleans was discovering the masterful Jacques Gauthé, either while he was sitting in with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band or leading his own Creole Rice Jazz Band at its home base for many years, the plush Meridian Hotel on Canal Street. Gauthé, who passed away in 2007, was born and raised in France and inspired to take up the clarinet by a Sidney Bechet concert he attended in Paris as a young boy in 1951. He moved to New Orleans in 1968, and worked as a chef before turning to jazz fulltime in 1984, whereupon he began doubling on soprano sax.

In 1997, New Orleans took part in the Centennial Celebration of Sidney Bechet's birth, a perfect time for Gauthé to record a tribute to his idol. In addition to recording 15 tunes Bechet had written and/or played, Gauthé included his own noteworthy composition "Blues for Bechet." Gauthé's stirring soprano, with its wide vibrato and rich, fully rounded tone, unavoidably evokes Bechet. The piece shifts from a melancholy, almost dirge-like opening theme played by Gauthé, to an upbeat, more joyful quality when the horns join him – a structure reminiscent of the two faces of a New Orleans-style funeral procession. A string of solos featuring Owen's vibrant trombone, Heitger's vigorously buoyant trumpet, Pistorius's honky-tonk piano, and Edegran's delicately articulated acoustic guitar, all prove that this is no one-man band. Gauthé soars on the out chorus, as the full band drives home its message with both authenticity and verve.

Reviewer: Scott Albin

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