Sidney Bechet in Switzerland / en Suisse

On May 14, 1949, Sidney Bechet celebrated his 52nd birthday during a now legendary concert on the stage of 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, and would enjoy unprecedented popularity.


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


The Sidney Bechet in Switzerland / en Suisse Collector's box set, released on the occasion of the 8th World Day for Audiovusual Heritage celebrated by UNESCO, is dedicated to that little known part of Sidney Bechet's story.

Cover artwork of the Collector's Box Set
Sidney Bechet in Switzerland / en Suisse
Photo: Gert Kreutschmann / Ullstein Bild
78rpm direct cut record (acetate)
Radio-Genève, 1949

Original master tape
Radio-Genève, 1955


On the occasion of the 7th World Day for Audiovisual Heritage celebrated by UNESCO, the United Music Foundation has completed an important preservation, restoration and historical research project on Sidney Bechet's recordings in Switzerland.

The following recordings were unearthed, preserved and restored in high resolution audio (24 bits / 96 kHz) from the original master tapes or the best surviving audio sources:

  • 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 (in French) - Radio-Lausanne, 27.04.1951 
  • Victoria Hall, Geneva - Concert, Radio-Genève, 28.04.1951 
  • Interviews and musical excerpts, ballet 'La nuit est une sorcière' (The Night Is a Sorceress) - Radio-Lausanne, 21.04.1953 
  • Private concert in a Geneva apartement - 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 (in French) - 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

This project was achieved with the collaboration of various private and public archives, including RTS, which made the original media available to the United Music Foundation (magnetic tapes, 78rpm direct cut records, pictures, documents, etc.).


4 CDs + art book 12" x 12" box set, limited to 2000 numbered copies, presented in a slipcase with hot-stamped gold printing, including:

4 CDs of rare or previously unreleased recordings:

  • Over 4 hours and 15 minutes of concerts, radio shows, and interviews from the vaults of Radio-Genève, Radio-Lausanne, and various private sources,
  • Recordings preserved and restored from the original master tapes or the best surviving audio sources,
  • High Resolution Mastering (24bits / 96kHz).

216-page Hardcover Art Book:

  • Approx. 250 photos and 140 documents, all rare or previously unseen,

  • Essay in English and French by his biographers Fabrice Zammarchi with the collaboration of Roland Hippenmeyer. English version by Jennifer Gay,

  • Previously unpublished interviews with Sidney Bechet's Swiss friends,

  • Forewords by his son Daniel Sidney Bechet, his student Bob Wilber, and his road manager Claude Wolff,

  • Code for a free download in Hi-Res Audio 24 bits / 96 kHz*
    *In partnership with:

This Collector's Edition Box Set is available HERE.

All benefits from the sale of this Collector's Edition Box Set will be used for future projects in favor of the preservation, restoration, and enhancement of recorded music heritage.

Best Reissue Award - Académie du Jazz (France)
Choc - Jazz Magazine (France)
Jazz Journal (U.K.) : *****
Le Temps (Switzerland) : *****

With the support of:

the City of Lancy,
a private Geneva Foundation, and Donors who prefer to remain anonymous.


Bern, October 27, 2014:

Memoriav - Swiss Commission for UNESCO Award 2014

for the best Swiss initiative for preservation or enhancement carried out in the context of the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage.

Paris, January 19, 2015:

Best Reissue or Best Unreleased Recording Award 2014 from Académie du Jazz.

Is awarded to a reissue or to an unreleased recording, regardless of style and recording date. It must reward exceptional editorial work: highlighting little-known or rare masterpieces, audio restoration work, intelligent presentation of complete works, record accompanied by quality documentation and/or iconography of unusual quality, anthology based on an original point of view.