Thursday, 26 October 2017

Jack Teagarden - Texas Trombone

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  • Published on Thursday, 28 November 2013 11:43
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Jack Teagarden - Texas Trombone

 

Jack Teagarden - Texas Trombone: Live at the Orpheum, Seattle July 27, 1958

One of the first major trombone soloists and a warm, thoughtful vocalist, Jack Teagarden grew up in a musical family; his mother Helen was a ragtime pianist, while brother Charlie was a trumpeter and sister Norma played piano. After playing with territory bands around his native Texas, he moved to New York, where he worked with Ben Pollack, Eddie Condon, Red Nichols and Louis Armstrong, along with a five year stint with Paul Whiteman. The trombonist formed his own big band in 1939, though it was never financially successful, so he broke it up in 1946. He was a part of Armstrong’s All-Stars between 1947-1951, with their playful vocal duet of “Rockin’ Chair” being reprised a number of times on record, including a 1956 reunion at the Newport Jazz Festival. For the remainder of his career, he worked with various musicians, including a band co-led by Earl Hines that toured Europe to acclaim and several bands of his own. Jack Teagarden died in New Orleans in 1964 from bronchial pneumonia.
Teagarden led a number of small bands throughout the latter part of his career, though they have tended to be overlooked by critics, since it is viewed as a mere rehashing classic jazz and swing. But this live booking at the Orpheum is a well-recorded, swinging affair, with the trombonist joined by pianist Don Ewell (who worked with Teagarden from 1957 until the leader’s death), cornetist Dick Oakley, clarinetist Jerry Fuller, bassist Stan Puls and drummer Ronnie Greb. “Original Dixieland One-Step” is one of the signature tunes of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, the first jazz band to appear on record. The solo spotlight is spread around to feature nearly everyone in the band briefly, though Teagarden easily steals the spotlight. Teagarden’s friendly, laid back vocal is a highlight of the extended performance of “Beale Street Blues.” Fats Waller’s “Handful of Keys” puts the spotlight on Ewell’s impressive stride chops, joined by Puls and Greb. “St. James Infirmary Blues” was long a staple in Teagarden’s repertoire, showcasing his robust trombone and moving vocal. Fuller, who would later become a part of the Dukes of Dixieland, is showcased in the lively take of “High Society,” written as a feature for the movie of the same name, which featured a plethora of jazz greats. Brief choruses by Oakley, Teagarden, Ewell and Puls are added as well. The sentimental ballad “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans” is another fine feature for Fuller, with the other horns providing background harmony. The brisk rendition of “After You’ve Gone” is evidently intended as a set closer before the inevitable encore, incorporating a vocal by Teagarden. The audience isn’t disappointed with the spirited performance of “When the Saints Go Marchin’ In,” as the band make it sound fresh, even if they likely played it hundreds of times a year.

 

 

 
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