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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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JACK TEAGARDEN

"Big T" - A Hundred Years From Today

Retrospective RTS 4182

 

 


CD1
1. A Hundred Years From Today
2. She's A Great, Great Girl
3. Makin' Friends
4. I'm Gonna Stomp Mr. Henry Lee
5. That's A Serious Thing
6. Knockin' A Jug
7. My Kinda Love
8. Dinah
9. The Sheik Of Araby
10. Basin Street Blues
11. Beale Street Blues
12. You Rascal, You!
13. Chances Are
14. After You've Gone
15. I've Got "It"
16. Somebody Stole Gabriel's Horn
17. I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues
18. Ain't Cha Glad?
19. Dr. Heckle And Mr. Jibe
20. Texas Tea Party
21. Christmas Night In Harlem
22. Junk Man
23. Davenport Blues
24. I Swung The Election

CD2
1. 'S Wonderful
2. Serenade To A Shylock
3. The Blues
4. Octoroon
5. Muddy River Blues
6. Swingin' On The Teagarden Gate
7. Jack Hits The Road
8. Muskrat Ramble
9. Shine
10. Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen
11. Stars Fell On Alabama
12. If I Could Be With You One Hour Tonight
13. Somebody Loves Me
14. St. Louis Blues
15. A Jam Session At Victor
16. Say It Simple So I Can Understand
17. St. James Infirmary
18. Rockin' Chair
19. Baby, Won't You Please Come Home?
20. Lover
21. High Society
22. Meet Me Where They Play The Blues

 

Jack Teagarden was not only a virtuoso on the trombone but also a pioneer. He was one of the first trombonists to break away from the traditional role of the trombone as the third member of the conventional New Orleans front line (trumpet or cornet, clarinet and trombone) and play as a soloist in his own right. He set a very high standard right from the start and inspired many other players, even if they couldn't match his relaxed tone and high-register improvisations. His almost lazy stle on the trombone was matched by his singing, which always sounded easy and tranquil.

Not surprisingly, he was employed by many bandleaders: more than a dozen are reprsented on this double album, as well as his own numerous groups. That is my excuse for not listing the extensive personnels which include such great names as Louis Armstrong, Ben Pollack, Benny Goodman, Eddie Condon, and Jack's neglected brother, Charlie Teagarden. With more than 150 minutes of music, this compilation is virtually correct in claiming in its sub-title that these tracks are "His 46 Finest", altough I am sorry at the omission of Black and Blue, and maybe the collection could have been more generous in its selection of Teagarden's recordings with Louis Armstrong's All Stars (e.g. Jack-Armstrong Blues or Back o' Town Blues).

Yet there are plenty of classic tracks here, including a 1941 version of his well-known A Hundred Years From Today; She's A Great, Great Girl from Jack's very first recording session with the Roger Wolfe Khan Orchestra (and confident solos from Teagarden and violinist Joe Venuti); Knockin' A Jug, an 1929 recording with Louis Armstrong; and Jack's languid 1930 vocal version of The Sheik Of Araby with Red Nichols.

Except for the title-track, every item is usefully arranged in chronologcal order. Although Jack spent five years with Paul Whiteman's Orchestra, there is only one example here of his work with that ensemble: Christms Night In Harlem, where Teagarden shares the vocals with Johnny Mercer. The next track, also from 1934, is a true classic: Junk Man, whose fame owed much to Casper Reardon's harp.

Highlights on the second CD include Serenade To A Shylock by an Eddie Condon group, with Teagarden exhibiting his feeling for the blues and Bud Freeman adding a shapely solo (as he also does on Jack Hits The Road); The Blues, a classic 1939 track by the Metronome All Star Band (where Teagarden shares a chorus with Tommy Dorsey); one of Jack's memorable duets with Louis Armstrong on Rockin' Chair; and a high-flying trombone statement in Lover, with Jack as featured soloist with Charles LaVere & His Chicago Loopers!

Jack Teagarden was unique - both as trombonist and vocalist - and this double CD is a valuable reminder of his one-off talents.

Tony Augarde

www.augardebooks.co.uk



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