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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Don Mather, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf, Glyn Pursglove



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JACK TEAGARDEN

Chicago & All That Jazz!

Lonehill Jazz LHJ 10370

 

 

  1. Logan Square
  2. Chicago
  3. After You've Gone
  4. China Boy
  5. Take Me to the Land of Jazz
  6. Sugar
  7. Nobody's Sweetheart
  8. Wolverine Blues
  9. Chicago
  10. Jazz Me Blues
  11. Clarinet Marmalade
  12. Mahogany Hall Stomp
  13. Atlanta Blues
  14. The Pearls
  15. Tap Room Blues
  16. Runnin' Wild
  17. Milenberg Joys
  18. Somebody Loves Me
  19. When Day is Done
  20. My Romance
  21. Love Me

Jack Teagarden - Trombone, vocals
Pee Wee Russell - Clarinet (tracks 1-9)
Bud Freeman - Tenor sax (tracks 1-9)
Jimmy McPartland - Trumpet (tracks 1-9)
Eddie Condon - Guitar (tracks 1-9)
Joe Sullivan - Piano (tracks 1-9)
Bob Haggart - Bass (tracks 1-9)
Gene Krupa - Drums (tracks 1-9)
Lil Hardin Armstrong, Blossom Seely - Vocals (tracks 5, 9)
Don Goldie - Trumpet, vocals (tracks 10-21)
Henry Cuesta - Clarinet (tracks 10-21)
Don Ewell - Piano (tracks 10-21)
Stan Puls - Bass (tracks 10-21)
Barrett Deems - Drums (tracks 10-21)

This well-filled CD contains two sessions recorded in 1961, three years before the leader died. The first session (tracks 1-9) was released with the title Chicago and All That Jazz; the second (tracks 10-21) was issued as The Dixie Sound of Jack Teagarden. Both albums featured the doyen of jazz trombonists, Jack Teagarden, with his added vocals on six tracks.

This CD well represents the central paradox of jazz, which is often played by people with distinctive sounds but which usually depends on the musicians working together. This is especially true of sessions like these, where a bunch of jazzmen is assembled to record with little or no rehearsal. There is no doubt that many of the participants here have very individual voices. Teagarden's trombone is easily recognized and even more so are the rather shrill clarinet of Pee Wee Russell and the smooth tenor sax of Bud Freeman - neither of whom could be mistaken for anybody else (although I have to admit that Freeman sometimes sounds like Eddie Miller).

So how does this improvised magic happen? I recently overheard two members of the audience discussing a jazz concert. One man said "What amazes me is the way that jazz musicians can play together even if they've never met before". The other man replied that he had once talked to a jazzman who told him that many players rely on "standards" - which are tunes that most players know and can therefore play at the drop of a hat. I presume that most jazz fans know this but it still seems to be a secret for some. Of course, many of these musicians had often played together before and their friendly togetherness is often evident in these recordings.

The "Chicago" album was planned for a television show about Chicago's tradition of jazz. Most of the personnel were originally members of McKenzie-Condon's Chicagoans in the 1920s. They were assembled by Eddie Condon, and the set is very like the informal sessions that Condon often arranged. Of course, it had to include the song Chicago, which actually appears in two versions: the first as an instrumental, the second with Lil Armstrong and Blossom Seely on not-very-good vocals (singing in a lower key). Incidentally, two piano features by Lil Armstrong are omitted from the reissue of this LP. The album starts with Logan Square, another song about the windy city, sung with true blues feeling by Teagarden. His vocals are evocatively punctuated by McPartland, Russell and Sullivan. The tune ends surprisingly, when Bud Freeman suddenly goes into double tempo, backed only by Gene Krupa's drums.

After You've Gone also doubles the tempo after Teagarden's vocal and swings with immense verve. China Boy opens with a rousing drum intro from Krupa, who frequently raises the temperature of the music. Bud Freeman's solo here flows beautifully and Pee Wee Russell's clarinet is as uniquely eccentric as ever. The rather raucous ladies join Teagarden in vocalising on Take Me to the Land of Jazz. Joe Sullivan introduces Sugar with a verse I don't recall hearing before. The vocal is taken by an uncredited member of the band. In every number, Teagarden illustrates his authority on the trombone, with that distinctive warm tone and inventive improvising.

The Dixie Sound of Jack Teagarden used Jack's regular band. The players can't quite come up to the high standard (or match the exuberance) of those on the preceding nine tracks, and the recorded sound is somehow subdued. Nevertheless, this is a likable set of Dixieland favourites. Jelly Roll Morton's The Pearls is given a nice bouncy rhythm; Tap Room Blues shows off Don Goldie's clear trumpet whether soloing or playing the lead; and Runnin' Wild is taken at a breakneck tempo which gives Barrett Deems problems with his drum solo.

There is some neatly integrated playing in Milenberg Joys, and Somebody Loves Me includes a typically relaxed vocal from Jack Teagarden. The last three tracks in this compilation CD were not on the "Dixie" album but come from the same session. My Romance contains gently lyrical playing from the front line, and the closing Love Me lopes along comfortably.

With its generous playing-time of nearly 80 minutes, this album is a welcome reminder of how great Jack Teagarden was, even in his final years.


Tony Augarde 



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