It’s not exactly what you might think: David Merrick hasn’t returned from the Great Beyond to stage a musical autobiography of Sidney Bechet. A pity, because Bechet’s life is dramatic in itself, even leaving aside his heroic music.
But we don’t have to wait for a Broadway producer to take this on, nor do we have to wait until the right actor is found. (I suspect a modern producer would insist on calling the show SIDNEY!)
What I’m referring to is the opening concert of the Fall 2013 season of the Sidney Bechet Society. Once again, the SBS has collected some of New York’s finest hot players to celebrate Bechet’s sweeping talents: as musician, composer, bandleader.
The players span the generations, but they all have the same spirit: exuberant swing. Leader Ed Polcer, cornet, knows how to kick a band along — as he’s proven so often. Next to him in the front line are the Midiri Brothers, Paul (trombone / vibraphone); Joe (clarinet / soprano saxophone), making their debut at a Bechet Society concert. The rhythm section is made up of Three Rhythm Men of Great Renown: Mark Shane, piano; Frank Tate, string bass; Kevin Dorn, drums.
And the press release hints at evocations of the Bechet-Spanier Big Four, so you know the music will alternate between tenderness and dangerously incendiary.
Here’s one of the original 1940 masterworks, with Carmen Mastren, guitar, and Wellman Braud, string bass:
The concert will take place on Monday, September 9, 2013, beginning at 7:15, at Peter Norton Symphony Space (95th Street and Broadway, or 2537 Broadway) in Manhattan. Tickets are $35 ($10 students / children) and can be purchased by visiting symphonyspace or calling 212-864-5400.
May your happiness increase!