Bechet, Sidney bəshā´ [key], 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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