From the time that Mezz Mezzrow first heard Sidney Bechet playing with the Original New Orleans Creole Jazz Band in Chicago in 1918, he nursed a burning ambition to record with him, inspired by the duets Bechet played with the band’s clarinettist leader, Lawrence Dewey. It took Mezzrow 20 years to realise that ambition, finally achieving his goal when French critic Hugues Panassie? made his recording safari to New York in November 1938.
The 12 tracks on this album are of later vintage, a selection from the sides that Mezzrow made in the mid-forties when he was president of the King Jazz record company.
The Mezzrow-Bechet partnership was a conspicuously one-sided match because Mezzrow had nothing like Bechet’s stature as a musician. But he was undoubtedly a good catalyst for Bechet, for whom he had a boundless admiration, and he made no secret of his inability to measure up to Bechet’s almost overpowering virtuosity.