Sidney Bechet's son, the drummer and writer Daniel Bechet, spoke of his immense pride at the decision to honour his jazz star father with one of London's blue plaques.
"There are not many perfect things in jazz, but Sidney Bechet playing the blues could be one of them." So said poet Philip Larkin of the legendary New Orleans musician who died in 1959. Camden Council gave permission for the plaque to be erected at 27 Conway Street in central London. Bechet, who was born in 1897, lived there in 1922 (when it was called Southampton Street), during which time he was performing at the Rector’s Club in Tottenham Court Road. The plaque has been applied for by the Nubian Jak Community Trust.
In 1922, Bechet was playing in clubs in London and teaching students. Among his pupils was Charles Henry Maxwell Knight, the future British spy who was the inspiration for the character M, head of the Secret Intelligence Service in Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels.
Speakers at the event included actress Carmen Munroe, jazz historian Howard Rye, Mayor of Camden Lazzaro Pietragnoli, musician Fabice Zammarchi and Bechet's son Daniel. Also attending were jazz trumpeter John Chilton, who wrote the definitive biography of Bechet, and jazz clarinetist and cartoonist Wally Fawkes, who toured Switzerland with Bechet in 1954.