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Jacques Gauthe and The Creol Rice Jazz Band: Echoes of Sidney Bechet

Although a widely respected star in New Orleans and in trad circles elsewhere, Jacques Gauthe is little known outside of this media-ignored underground scene, an especial pity because as a soprano saxophonist and clarinetist he is one of the world’s most devoted and best equipped interpreters of Sidney Bechet. It was no accident, then, that on this debut recording for Good Time Jazz he was chosen to honor his mentor just in time for New Orleans’ Centennial Celebration of Bechet’s birth. Using his regular seven-piece band, inclusive of trumpeter Duke Heitger, trombonist Mike Owen, and pianist Steve Pistorius, Gauthe is centerstage throughout on 14 Bechet compositions, plus one the master frequently played over the years, “Muskrat Ramble” and Gauthe’s own “Blues For Bechet.” Although most of the Bechet numbers are associated with his latter years in Paris, where he recorded them with the bands of Claude Luter and Andre Reweliotty, some are classics going back much further in time, i.e., “Wild Cat Blues,” “Ghost Of The Blues,” “Egyptian Fantasy,” and “Georgia Cabin.” Gauthe captures his idol’s tone and vibrato to a tee, but the ineffable passion that was the older man’s exclusive domain still remains as elusive as ever.

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