Friday, September 28, 2007

Treat It Gentle

Yes, We Forgot the Great Sidney Bechet's Treat It Gentle
In our haste of editing thegrowlingwolf's episodic self-adventures we failed to note that the Wolf Man had failed to mention Sidney Bechet's book Treat It Gentle--we know he's read it because he's always touting Sidney Bechet as the first jazz man to do this and we've heard him growling about how "Sidney Bechet was there when Armstrong was there; he heard the same Buddy Bolden as Louis did, plus this m-f-er was doing recording dubbing when Les Paul was still playing high-plains hillbilly guitar and a racked harmonica up in the wilds of South or North Dakota, blah, blah, blah." So we apologize and humbly bow before the eagle eyes of languagehat [] who brought this lack of thorough research to our attention. Sidney Bechet was a great storyteller; if he had help writing the book, isn't that probably a given?

We tried to download the introduction to Treat It Gentle here but the page blotted out the blog so to hell with it. You can download some of this book from the Internet. There is quite a bit of Bechet information on the Internet--a lot of wide-eyed white respect of him on the Internet, along with a lot of white dumb statements and questions like 'where do I find this guy's recordings, he's great,' though we doubt with the exception of the whole Marsalis family that anyone in jazz today is really that familiar with the likes of Sidney, Jelly Roll, Omar Simeon, Tommy Ladnier, Art Hodes, Pops Foster, Zutty Singleton, the deParis's--and we could go on and on dropping names--even Max Kaminsky's name--and maybe this is a trick to get more hits on the blog--make preposterous statements about YOUNG-er than we Americans and how stupid they in general are--and totally stupid when it comes to their own music--and this includes black Americans, too; how many rappers know who Sidney Bechet was; yet Bechet's music is so prevalent even in the most stupid and monotonous and self-blinging rap recordings of today--Run DMZ might know who Sidney Bechet is--they certainly knew how important Chuck Berry was to rap, that's for sure.

thegrowlingwolf's white-man-wannabe-black-man hero, Mezz Mezzrow, knew and recorded with Sidney as a member of a Tommy Ladnier recording session. One version of Sidney's New Orleans Feetwarmers featured Sonny White on piano and Klook on drums. Bechet was a member of Jelly Roll's New Orleans Jazzmen along with Sidney De Paris, Albert Nicholas, Lawrence Lucie, Wellman Braud, and Zutty Singleton. Ernie Caceres, the Tex-Mex baritone sax player who once recorded with the Bob Wills Band in San Antonio, was in one of Sidney's bands. Unfortunately, Sidney got so pissed off at the USA and especially New Orleans (Louis Armstrong also got terribly pissed at New Orleans--to the point he made it clear before he died that he did not want to be buried in New Orleans--and he wasn't, he's buried in Queens, New York, where he spent the best years of his life) he moved to Paris in the fifties where he became a huge star and in a grand, triumphant, French kind of wedding ceremony, he married a white woman boldly and proudly and then he wrote Treat It Gentle, which was published in 1960. His funeral in Paris was one of the biggest funeral events in Paris since Victor Hugo's death and Berlioz's dies-irae-riddled funeral march that led him to Pere Lachaise--where Sidney Bechet ended up, too--along with Gertrude Stein and Jim Morrison--how's that for diversity in cemetery life?
Sidney as a young man. He gigged right up until his death in 1959.
And Charles Parker, Jr., knew Sidney, too...

for The Daily Growler

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