Special Performance: Steve Pistorius & The Syncopators Present The Music Of Sidney Bechet & Johnny Dodds
We are proud to announce a Special Performance: Steve Pistorius & The Syncopators present the music of Sidney Bechet & Johnny Dodds, on Sunday, December 11, 2016 at 3:00 PM CST.
Purchase Tickets HERE
Join Steve Pistorius, Orange Kellin James Evans, and Benny Amón as they present a special matinee tribute to New Orleans Jazz greats Sidney Bechet and Johnny Dodds.
Sidney Bechet was a child prodigy in New Orleans. He was such good clarinet player that, in his youth he was featured by some of the top bands in the city. Bechet's style of playing clarinet and soprano sax dominated many of the bands that he was in. He played lead parts that were usually reserved for trumpets and was a master of improvisation. In 1917 he moved to Chicago. In 1919 he was playing with Will Marion Cook's Syncopated Orchestra and with Louis Mitchell's Jazz Kings in Europe. While overseas he bought a soprano sax and from then on it was his main instrument. Back in the U.S. Bechet made his recording debut in 1923 with Clarence Williams and during the next two years he appeared on several of Williams' records backing up blues singers and on a classic session with the Clarence Williams Blue Five, featuring Louis Armstrong whom he knew as a child in New Orleans. He played in an early version of Duke Ellington's Washingtonians but unfortunately never recorded with them. From 1925 to 1929 Bechet lived and played in Europe, playing in England, France, Germany and Russia. While living in Paris, Bechet got into a dispute with another musician and a gun fight broke out. Three people were wounded and Sidney spent a year in a French jail as a result of the fracas. He was deported upon release from prison and went to Berlin, Germany. He could not stay in France and he would not get a visa for England so he stayed in Berlin till 1931 then joined the Noble Sissle Orchestra and returned to America. Bechet managed to keep playing during the Thirties, but he also ran an unsuccessful tailor's shop with Tommy Ladnier and made some memorable recordings with the trumpeter under the name of the New Orleans Feetwarmers. In 1938 he had a hit record of "Summertime". In the Forties Bechet worked regularly in New York with Eddie Condon and tried to start a band with Bunk Johnson. Bechet was a popular figure of the Dixieland revival of the late Forties often recording with Mezz Mezzrow. Bechet returned to France in 1952 and was warmly received there. While in France he recorded hit records that rivaled the sales of pop stars. Bechet was one of the great soloists of early Jazz. He lived a very rich life, always managing to "make the scene" where it was "happening", whether it be in New Orleans, Chicago, New York, Berlin or Paris.
Johnny Dodds was one of the greatest clarinetist of the 1920's. Although both Jimmie Noone and Sidney Bechet had better technique, Dodds had a very soulful, bluesy style of playing that was often emotionally powerful. He was a master of the New Orleans' ensemble style of collective improvisation. He didn't have the flash of Louis Armstrong, but often provided the perfect environment for Armstrong to shine. He worked with most of the major Hot Jazz bands of the era. Dodds was in Kid Ory's band in New Orleans from 1912 to 1919. He played on riverboats with Fate Marable in 1917 and moved to Chicago in 1921 to play with King Oliver. Johnny and his brother Baby Dodds were an important part of Louis Armstrong's classic Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings for Okeh. During the 1920's he also recorded with Oliver's Creole Jazz Band, Jelly Roll Morton and on most of Lil Hardin-Armstrong's sessions. Unlike many of his famous contemporaries, Dodds and his brother stayed in Chicago and were pretty much forgotten as Jazz moved East to New York in the Thirties. He recorded several records under his own name in the Twenties, often with Natty Dominique on trumpet, and worked regularly at Kelly's Stables from 1924 to 1930. Dodds continued to play and record in Chicago throughout the Thirties, and also ran a cab company with his brothers.