Teddy Wilson was a technically elegant pianist,
famous for the accuracy of his chord statement and blessed with
a unique and identifiable style. He was more suited to the role
of sideman than leader although he did have brief periods in that
role. He first became really famous with the original Benny Goodman
Trio and stayed with the Clarinettist/Leader through his other
small groups and the famous 1938 big band. He was also in big
demand as an accompanist for vocalists; there are tracks by Billie
Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald on this CD. It was another role in
which kept Teddy Wilson in great demand.
Whilst the majority of these tracks apart from
2 & 16 (Benny Goodman), were recorded under Teddy Wilsonís
name, many were probably studio bands put together to record particular
numbers. This approach however means that we get an amazing number
of jazz heavyweights on one album and all supported by an all
star rhythm section. Drummersí Cozy Cole, Gene Krupa, Sid Catlett
and Joe Jones appear on different tracks and the front lines are
also full of well-known names. Trumpeters Roy Eldridge, Jonah
Jones, Buck Clayton, Cootie Williams and Harry James are all included,
as are saxists Ben Webster, Chu Berry, Lester Young, Johnny Hodges,
Harry Carney and Vido Musso.
As you would expect from Teddy Wilson, the playing
is immaculate throughout, it is nice to hear the Billie Holliday
vocals again as well and all the soloists turn in fine performances.
I found this album to be full of pleasant surprises, as I had
not heard most of the instrumental tracks, the ever-changing soloists
gave plenty of variety and as usual Naxos had cleaned the sound
to very acceptable levels. The well written sleeve notes and the
accurate personnel details were also much appreciated.