CD Reviews

Music on the Web (UK)

Webmaster: Len Mullenger

[ Jazz index ] [Nostalgia index]  [ Classical MusicWeb ] [ Gerard Hoffnung ]

Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, Ian Lace, Peter Woolf, Colin Clarke

Sidney Bechet
Spreadin' Joy . 1940 - 1950
Naxos Jazz Legends 8.120531


  1. The Sheik of Araby
  2. Sweet Lorraine
  3. China Boy
  4. I Told you Once, I Told you Twice
  5. Muscat Ramble
  6. Blue Horizon
  7. Slippin' and Slidin'
  8. Egyptian fantasy
  9. Baby won't You Please Come Home
  10. Lazy river
  11. That's A Plenty
  12. Texas Moaner
  13. National Emblem March
  14. Four or Five Times
  15. I had It, but it's All Gone Now
  16. Spreadin' Joy
  17. Blues of Bechet
  18. Cake-Walking Babies

The album features Bechet with eight different bands, plus a couple of tracks where he plays all the instruments.

I first got into jazz in 1948 aged 12, after first listening to the Big Bands of the day and then developing a liking for Dixieland music. By 1951 I was excited to learn that one of the legends of New Orleans, Sidney Bechet was living in Paris, a city where he remained until he died on his 62nd. Birthday on the 14th. of May 1959.

Like many of his contemporaries Bechet started out playing Cornet with New Orleans marching bands. This may well account for the way he played the Soprano Sax, often playing the lead or melody line, which would normally have been taken by the trumpet or cornet. He first came to fame as a Clarinet player, but his best work was undoubtedly on the Soprano Sax, an instrument that became his hallmark. In a way he forms a link between traditional and modern jazz, with a unique style all of his own. The record contains two of the earliest examples of multi-tracking on tracks 1 & 17 where Bechet plays all the instruments. There are some good trumpet players however featured on other tracks Henry 'Red ' Allen, Charlie Shavers, Wild Bill Davidson and our own Humphrey Lyttelton are all heard in the different ensembles.

Bechet was one of the early giants of jazz, he had a unique sound on Soprano, making him instantly recognisable and he must be rated alongside Armstrong and the Duke in terms of innovation.

For any younger fans unfamiliar with his work, this record is a must for your collection, For me it was a pleasure to recall some sounds that gave me such immense pleasure a log time ago and I still enjoy to-day.


Don Mather
Don Mather is a Saxophone player and Bandleader in Coventry

Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Cameo Classics
Northern Flowers
Toccata Classics

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Return to Index

Reviews from previous months

You can purchase CDs, tickets and musician's accessories and Save around 22% with these retailers: