Fundraising appeal to commemorate jazz pioneer

An appeal has been launched to commemorate jazz pioneer Sidney Bechet with a plaque at  Conway Street on a house he lived at in 1922 and whilst a member the Southern Syncopated Orchestra.

Front of house.

The house where musician Sidney Bechet resided is to have a memorial plaque.

Clarinetist and saxophonist Sidney Bechet is credited with bringing  jazz to Britain just after the first world war and permission has been granted by Camden Council for a plaque at the house at number 27.

photo of Sidney Bechet.

Sidney Bechet (1897-1959).

Bechet (1897-1959) lived there when it was called Southampton Street while performing at the Rector’s Club in Tottenham Court Road. He was playing for the Southern Syncopated Orchestra, the ground breaking jazz ensemble from New Orleans, of which he was a founder member. The orchestra was the first to play jazz in Britain and Bechet was considered one of the elite who entertained the higher echelons of society. Bechet left an autobiography, Treat It Gentle, published in 1960 shortly after his death, and has been the subject of several biographies in both French and English. Proof of his living at 27 Southampton Street is contained in a document issued by the Aliens Office on 8 September 1922, now in the National Archives.

The Nubian Jak Community Trust was set up in 2004 to commemorate historic black figures in the UK and “to recognise some of the most important personalities who have made a significant contribution to Britain’s diverse history.” Their first plaque was for Bob Marley in Ridgmount Gardens. Since then, the organisation have erected over 15 plaques around the UK.

Now an appeal has been made to buy and erect at plaque, reports Jazz Journal.

Cheques, made out to Nubian Jak Community Trust, can be sent to Josephine Beaton, 20 Coppermill Lane, London E17 7HB, or contact Howard Rye for more information at howard@coppermill.demon.co.uk, tel +44 20 8521 1098.

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