I told you once, I told you twice..

I thought I’d wind things down for the weekend by posting a little bit of British jazz history. It’s perhaps not very well known that the great Sidney Bechet came to England in 1949 and did a concert and a recording session with Humphrey Lyttelton’s band while he was here. What’s also not very well known is how controversial this was, as in the immediate post-war years the Musician’s Union had persuaded the UK government to ban American artists from performing over here. Humph was having none of it, thank goodness, and here we have the legacy. Here is the unmistakeable Sidney Bechet on soprano sax, playing a traditional blues called I told you once, I told you twice with Humph on trumpet, Wally Fawkes on clarinet and, stealing the show, the absolutely superb Keith Christie on trombone. The only problem is that the youtube version cuts out a bit early…

After the concert they played together, Bechet summoned Humph in order to deliver a kind of end-of-term report on the band in which he pointed out little criticisms of their playing and so on. Bechet was a forceful character and often a harsh critic but when he got to Keith Christie he expressed nothing but unqualified admiration. There’s not much higher praise than that in the world of jazz.


3 Responses to “I told you once, I told you twice..”

  1. That’s a great story!

  2. Anton Garrett Says:

    Lovely. Thanks for info and for posting. Available on CD?

    • It may be, but it’s not on any of the CDs or LPs or even 78s that I recall. The date puts it just before Humph signed for the Parlophone label, so I don’t know who organized the session. I’ll try to find out. There are other tracks from that session, which I heard about 25 years ago, but I remember this one best.

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