Sidney Bechet in Switzerland

On May 14, 1949, the day of his 52nd birthday, Sidney Bechet gave a legendary concert at the Victoria Hall in Geneva. On May 14, 1959, he passed away at his home in Garches, near Paris.

During the intervening 10 years, Sidney Bechet would leave the United States to settle in Europe, where he would enjoy unprecedented popularity.

He also maintained a privileged relationship with Switzerland, to the extent that he considered settling on the shores of Lake Geneva, where he had made friends.

It is to that little known part of Sidney Bechet's story that this box set is dedicated. It includes:
  • 4 CDs of rare or previously unreleased recordings
    preserved in the context of UNESCO's celebration of the 7th World Day for Audiovisual Heritage, from the best available sources (magnetic tapes and 78rpm acetate records).
    High-definition mastering.
    • Victoria Hall, Geneva - Concert, Radio-Genève, 14.05.1949
    • Maison du Peuple, Lausanne - Concert, Radio-Lausanne, 08.10.1949
    • Interview Claude Luter and Sidney Bechet - Radio-Lausanne, 27.04.1951
    • Victoria Hall, Geneva - Concert, Radio-Genève, 28.04.1951
    • Interviews and musical excerpts, ballet The Night Is a Sorceress - Radio-Lausanne, 21.04.1953
    • Private concert in a Geneva apartment - Recorded by Henri Chaix, 19.03.1954
    • Grand Casino, Geneva - Chacun son tour variety program, Radio-Genève, 22.03.1954
    • Interview about New Orleans funerals - Radio-Genève, 04.1954
    • Kongresshaus, Zurich - Chacun son tour variety program, Radio-Genève, 18.01.1955
    • Cinéma Arlequin, Sion (concert excerpt) - Recorded by Emile Vadi, 18.03.1958
    • Théâtre de Beaulieu, Lausanne - Soir de gala variety program, Radio-Lausanne, 01.04.1958
  • A bilingual French/English art book of 216 pages, format 12" x 12"
    • Forewords by Daniel Bechet, his son, Bob Wilber, his student, and Claude Wolff, his manager
    • Essay by Fabrice Zammarchi with the collaboration of Roland Hippenmeyer - the artist's biographers
    • Previously unpublished interviews with some of those present for Sidney Bechet's concerts and travels in Switzerland
    • Some 250 pictures and 140 documents, all rare or previously unseen

This project was produced with the collaboration of various private and public archives, including RTS, which made the original media available to us (magnetic tapes, 78rpm acetate records, pictures, documents, etc.).

The "Sidney Bechet en Suisse / in Switzerland" box set was released on the occasion of UNESCO's celebration of the 8th World Day for Audiovisual Heritage. It is available through our Shop:

All benefits from the sale of this boxed set will be used for future projects in favor of the preservation, restoration, and enhancement of recorded music heritage.



With the support of:

Logo Ville de Genève          Logo-etat-de-GE           LOGO_POZZOLI_PANT-201.jpg

of the City of Lancy,

of a private Geneva Foundation and Donors who prefer to remain anonymous.

Cover artwork of the boxed set Sidney Bechet in Switzerland
Cover artwork of the boxed set
Sidney Bechet in Switzerland
Photo: Gert Kreutschmann / Ullstein Bild

Memoriav - Swiss commission for UNESCO Award 2014
Memoriav - Swiss Commission for UNESCO Award World Day for Audiovisual Heritage 2014

Best Reissue Award 2014 - French Académie du Jazz
Best Reissue Award 2014
Académie du Jazz, Paris

78T Acetate
78rpm acetate record
Radio-Genève, 1949

Bande magnétique
Original tape box
Radio-Genève, 1955