Recent listening, current

Friday, February 22, 2013

41. Jack Teagarden & Bobby Hackett / The Complete Fifties Studio Recoridings (2004)

With notable exceptions, I'm not a huge fan of dixieland. At least, it's not the first jazz I reach for every time. Six or seven freewheeling improvisors that are each so close to the melody can wear thin on me after a few tracks, and I long for the organization of a hard bop quartet. But a band this good and this experienced brings out something special in the music. A big winner is the fact that it was recorded in the 50s, and the superior audio quality means I can actually hear what all those "other guys" are doing behind the soloist. Teagarden is unrivaled on the trombone, and has a stand-up voice for singing songs like "Basin Street Blues" and "St. James Infirmary." I love listening to him sing, and there's a reassuring quality in his voice. Hackett's open horn is gloriously full toned and his solos, like those of Teagarden and Matty Matlock, are boldly effervescent and daring. Teagarden uses a few different techniques on his own instrument, adding life and spontaneous joy to every bar. This collection should be on every jazz listener's shelf, right next to the Louies, Pee Wee Russells, and Eddie Condons. There's actually several LPs worth of material here (23 songs), so if you like it then invite some friends over because there's plenty to go around.

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