1908 to 1957
May 14, 1897 in New Orleans
May 14, 1959
New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Sidney Bechet (May 14, 1897 – May 14, 1959) was an American jazz saxophonist, clarinetist, and composer. He was one of the first important soloists in jazz (beating cornetist and trumpeter Louis Armstrong to the recording studio by several months and later playing duets with him) and was perhaps the first notable jazz saxophonist. His playing is characterized by forceful delivery, well-constructed improvisations, and a distinctive wide vibrato. Bechet's erratic temperament hampered his career, however, and not until the late 1940s did he earn wide acclaim.