Sidney Bechet: Kansas City Man Blues


Kansas City Man Blues


Sidney Bechet (soprano sax)


Young Sidney Bechet (Timeless CBC1028)

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Sidney Bechet (soprano sax),

Thomas Morris (cornet), John Mayfield (trombone), Clarence Williams (piano), and Buddy Christian (banjo)


Composed by Clarence Williams


Recorded: New York, July 30, 1923


Rating: 100/100 (learn more)

Taken from Bechet's first session with pianist Clarence Williams' Blue Five, "Kansas City Man Blues" is (with "Wild Cat Blues") one of his first two extant recordings. As if to prove that the irascible Bechet followed no man, his vibrato-laden soprano is front and center. Although the group is a New Orleans-style collective, in truth this is a soprano feature; the rest of the band takes the only sensible course and stays in the background. Everything that made Bechet special is on display: the sinuous phrasing, resolute rhythms, and that soundólike a blowtorch. It's little wonder that few of his contemporary jazz saxophonists took up the cudgel and adopted the soprano (Johnny Hodges was one of the few; he played soprano in his youth, even studying with Bechet, and played it occasionally even after switching to alto). Bechet's personality on the instrument is so strong, it must've seemed almost impossible to find an alternative way to play it. The man was a force of nature.

Reviewer: Chris Kelsey

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