Bryan: Just came across the follow-up posts in this thread.
Bechet? Good luck!!!
There are a host of soprano players inspired by the great Bechet and I've only heard a few that even came close . . . Jean-Francois Bonnel from France (who recently played with HOT ANTIC JAZZ BAND from Nimes; and Bob Wilber, who as a youngster, studied with Bechet (more so clarinet than soprano). Wilber has since changed his sound in my opinion.
Another Frenchman, Christian Vaudecrane, who plays with Sac 'A Puls, has the idea but it is his technique more than his sound, that approximates Bechet. Lastly, Alain Marquet, from France, gets it on clarinet - he played with Charquet & Co. and now plays with Paris Washboard.
To achieve that sound, you'll just have to experiment - I'd think that more open pieces and softer reeds are the answer, but everyone is different. I'd LOVE to be able to do that. DAVE