If you play the soprano saxophone, at some point, you'll have to confront the legacies of John Coltrane and Sidney Bechet. In 2017, soprano virtuoso Dave Liebman saluted the former on Compassion: The Music of John Coltrane
, which paired him with tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano. This year, he teams up with guitarist John Stowell to pay homage to the latter on Petite Fleur: The Music of Sidney Bechet
(Origin). A New Orleans contemporary of Louis Armstrong's, Bechet was an important early voice in jazz, although he never received the same acclaim--at least not in the United States--as Pops did. Connoisseurs recognized Bechet's brilliance, especially in France, where he lived in his later years and was embraced as a jazz legend. Without being imitative, Liebman and Stowell explore the Bechet songbook with intriguing interpretations of signature tunes such as "Petite Fleur" and "When the Sun Sets Down South." And teasing out Bechet's Louisiana roots, the pair play a particularly swampy rendition of "Creole Blues," our selection, which drips with the menace and mystery of the bayou while offering celebratory glints of Mardi Gras beads hanging from tree branches.