Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Jack Teagarden and his All Stars-1958

Jack Teagarden (1905-64) was one of those consumate jazzmen who never sounded bad. His ealry groundbreaking trombone work of the 20s and early 30s speaks for itself.
He continued to play and sing brilliantly thru the big band years and postwar years.
After his hitch with Louis Armstrong's All Stars from 1947-51, Jack decided to form his own  "All-Star" combo, which he fronted for the rest of his life.

This delightful recording finds Jack and his band playing a live date at the Modern Jazz Room in Cleveland,Ohio in 1958. Along with Jack are Don Ewell,a wonderful trad pianist with deep roots in Fats Waller and Jelly Roll Morton. Dick Oakley,cornet is a clean,swinging player who worked with many Midwest jazz groups. Jerry Fuller on clarinet is a wonderful Goodman-style player with brilliant technique. He later had a long stint with the Dukes of Dixieland. Stan Puls,bass and Ronnie Greb,drums were solid rhythm men who put in many years with Jack. The program features a mixture of Jack's specialties, Traditional favorites and features for the sidemen.

A short version of Jack's theme I've Got a Right to Sing the Blues opens the proceedings. Right away the relaxed but brilliant Teagarden touch is present. Next is the perennial Fidgety Feet which gives everyone a chance to solo. A Good Opener.
Jack had some nice arangements in his library. This one of Someday You'll be Sorry came from one of his Capitol lps. It has the wonderful Teagarden horn and voice with nice horn parts behind him.
Jack closes with one of those patented but always lovely trombone codas.
Next up is a feature for Don Ewell, his composition Wallerrising which contains his personal stride style in tribute to Fats.This is also a tasty Band arrangement.
Jack sings one of his quaint,down home ballads Old Pigeon Toed Joe. He had a great Jazz Voice and like Louis, his Voice was an extension of his horn work. There is a little trombone here,but oh so nice with another pretty coda.

The old jazz classic High Society is next,everyone gets solo space but Jerry Fuller is the star with some swinging choruses on the old Picou clarinet routine. Jack is back for St. James Infirmary, one of his perennials. Besides his wonderful drawling vocal,Jack gives us his "water glass"routine where he plays the Slide portion of the bone into a Glass giving him a Very, Haunting Kazoo-like sound. This was one of Jack's few tricks, but a very musical one.

Next up is a Hoagy Carmichael medley of Rockin' Chair and Georgia on my Mind. Jack sings solo on Rockin' Chair (his later trumpeter Don Goldie did a great "Louis" routine with Jack) and Jerry gets to stretch out on Georgia. Jack pays tribute to Kid Ory,the composer of Muskrat Ramble next. This is a nice everybody blow version. Oakley gets off 2 nice choruses and surprises with some high ones. In tribute to Ory,Jack closes with Kid's trombone tag. A short version of After You've Gone follows with Jack's horn and vocal featured. This also has a nice arrangement with a tricky ascending band riff to close.

Like many "All Star"jazz groups , Jack closes with "The Saints". Everyone solos with Ronnie Greb stretching out on drums. Ronnie studied at the Gene Krupa/Cozy Cole Drum Studio in New York. He builds a nice solo without a lot of the usual "Cymbal Bashing Theatrics." This version also has a neat riff and modulation closing figure. Jack used this routine on most of his live dates.

This session is far from the greatest Jack Teagarden in his recorded career, but shows the brilliance and pure musicality of this Jazz Star. It's a nice example of the kind of music Jack played nightly in clubs and concerts thruout the 50s and early 60s.
The CD is available from Jazzology Records in New Orleans.

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