Bechet, Sidney (bəshāˈ), 1897–1959, American jazz musician, b. New Orleans, La. He began his professional career with his brother Leonard's band in 1911. Later he played with many other bands, including that of King Oliver. Although Bechet played clarinet with vigorous elegance, his most remarkable achievement was his approach to the most difficult of the saxophones, the soprano. His style was marked by a trumpetlike attack, a broad, flaring tone, and a rich vibrato. He lived in Europe for the last 20 years of his life.
See his autobiography, Treat It Gentle (1959).
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Bechet, Sidney(1897–1959) jazz musician; born in New Orleans. As a clarinetist and saxophonist, he was a pioneer in establishing jazz as a solo idiom. In 1919, he became the first jazz musician to receive critical attention; in 1926, as a sideman, he made a strong impression on Duke Ellington's emerging style. After spearheading a traditional jazz revival in the 1940s, he settled in France where he was widely honored.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.