Jack Teagarden's vocals
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One of the classic giants of jazz, Jack Teagarden was not only the top pre-bop trombonist (playing his instrument with the ease of a trumpeter) but one of the best jazz singers too.
- All Music Guide
There are only a few singers who play my spinal column. Jack Teagarden is one.
Several years ago discovering the Big Band part of jazz music I went on a dedicated chronological exploration.
Getting back to the early days there were many remarkable musicians. Jelly Roll Morton and – one of 20th century America's finest men – Louis Armstrong for example.
And there was Jack Teagarden. I can't profess that my ear is that keen. But I can appreciate Teagarden's trombone. For someone with my limited knowledge he and “Tricky” Sam Nanton are the jazz trombonists.
Just as Armstrong was a genius among singers so was Tegarden.
When you hear Jack Teagarden both sing and play his trombone it is as if the two are one.
To my limited ear the trombone move from note to note with more ... discretion ... with less transition ... ? Heck if I know what I want to say.
Similarly Tegarden's vocals slur masterfully. I can't think of a singer who was more brilliantly able to humble the consonants.
When I came back to buying CDs again is was a special delight to learn that Verve had reissued one of his late LPs. By many jazz reissue standards Mis'ry and the Blues is woefully short. But a half hour with Jack Teagarden singing beautifully is more satisfying than seventy-five minutes of good but really just OK jazz.
Whether he was playing on an studio 78 and part of Paul Whiteman's band or singing shortly before his death I'll always be grateful to have discovered Jack Tegarden.