Jack Teagarden - trombone, vocals; Don Goldie - trumpet; Henry Cuesta - clarinet; Don Ewell - piano; Stan Puls - bass; Ronnie Greb - drums; Special guest, Bobby Hackett - trumpet
Perhaps most well known for his celebrated stint with Louis Armstrong from 1947-1951, easy-going trombonist Jack "Big T" Teagarden was a beloved, larger-than-life figure in the music for four decades. A remarkably soulful singer as well, he was particularly expressive on slow blues numbers which highlighted naturally lazy Texas voice, which a critic once described as "midway between a heavy drawl and an outright yawn." Teagarden's appearance at the 1959 Newport Jazz Festival with his working sextet at the time was also a reunion of sorts with trumpeter Bobby Hackett, a ubiquitous presence at the festival since its inception. The two had recorded a pair of hot Dixieland-oriented albums for Capitol -- 1955's Coast Concert and 1957's Jazz Ultimate - that showcased their potent chemistry. These two old school jazz giants revealed their mutual admiration and genuine affection for each other during their July 5th set together, which also features spirited contributions from trumpeter Don Goldie, clarinetist Henry Cuesta, pianist Don Ewell, bassist Stan Puls and drummer Ronnie Greb.
They come out of the gate charging hard on the old Dixieland chestnut "That's A Plenty," with Teagarden, Goldie and Cuesta interweaving exuberant lines in classic Dixieland fashion. Goldie solos first, showcasing his bright attack and pungent tones in the high register. Next up is clarinetist Cuesta, who blows raspy tones with bluesy intent. Teagarden follows with a typically tasty trombone solo that is imbued with the very spirit of Dixieland. And they blend magnificently on the head before taking the piece out with a flurry of simultaneous soloing. Big T showcases his lyrical side with a silky-smooth, relaxed reading of "Stars Fell on Alabama," which also incorporates his soulful, easy-going vocals into the mix. This poignant piece segues neatly into trumpeter Don Goldie's passionate reading of the jazz standard "I Can't Get Started," a piece made famous in 1937 by trumpeter Bunny Berigan and later covered by every major jazz artist from Lester Young and Billie Holiday to Chet Baker, Stan Getz and Sonny Rollins. Goldie's exhilarating cadenza at the end of the piece is a highlight. Clarinetist Cuesta comes to the fore on a vibrant rendition of Hoagy Carmichael's "Riverboat Shuffle" which has him mixing it up on the front line with Teagarden and Goldie. Pianist Ewell gets in a Basie-esque solo on this Dixieland romp, and Goldie follows with another brilliant trumpet solo that is brimming with conviction and clarity. Cuesta returns for an inspired clarinet solo, wailing nonchalantly over the changes, before Teagarden enters to put a nice bow on this Dixieland favorite with a pretty trombone solo. "High Society" is another Dixieland classic, rendered here with verve by Teagarden's sextet. The sequence of solos on this toe-tapper begins with Cuesta and continues with trumpeter Goldie, trombonist Teagarden (catch his quote from Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" in the middle of this Dixieland throwdown) and pianist Ewell. And in true Dixieland fashion, they all blow in a freewheeling manner on the last chorus in the spirit of collective improvisation.
At this point in the show, Teagarden brings out his highly regarded colleague, trumpeter Hackett, for a relaxed, swinging rendition of Spencer Williams' "Royal Garden Blues," a ragtime tune popularized in 1927 by jazz cornet great Bix Beiderbecke and in later years covered by everyone from Benny Goodman to Edmond Hall to Branford Marsalis. Next up, Teagarden and Goldie indulge in some good natured repartee on "Rocking Chair," a tune popularized some years earlier by Big T in his famous collaboration with Louis Armstrong. Goldie's mimicry of Satchmo's gravelly vocals here adds a bit of levity to the proceedings.
That Teagarden staple segues into Hackett's strikingly beautiful reading of "Body and Soul," a jazz anthem popularized in 1939 by tenor sax great Coleman Hawkins. Teagarden calls Hackett's playing on that timeless number, "The most beautiful trumpet in the world." And they close on an exhilarating note with the familiar Dixieland romp "When the Saints Go Marchin' In," with Teagarden and Goldie exchanging vocal riffs once again. Everybody gets a taste here -- pianist Ewell solos first, followed by trumpeter Hackett, then clarinetist Cuesta, then bassist Puls. The band modulates to a different key for Teagarden's solo (he quotes from "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen"). Even drummer Greb gets to stretch out on this eternal jamming vehicle. Teagarden's set at the 1959 Newport Jazz Festival came just four days at his live recording, At the Roundtable, for the Roulette label.
Born in Vernon, Texas on August 20, 1905, Weldon Leo "Jack" Teagarden started on baritone saxophone before switching to trombone at age 10, attracted by the hot jazz stylings of the Louisiana Five. Largely self-taught, he developed unorthodox techniques on the instrument that accounted for his remarkably fluid, blues-drenched approach to the trombone. By 1920, at age 15, he was playing professionally in San Antonio with Peck Kelley's band and by the mid '20s he made his first road trip, ending up in New York in 1927 and working the following year with Ben Pollack's band. In the late 1920s, Teagarden met and recorded with such notable bandleaders and sidemen as Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Bix Beiderbecke, Red Nichols, Jimmy McPartland, Mezz Mezzrow, Glenn Miller, and Eddie Condon. By the early 1930s, he relocated to Chicago, where he played with trumpeter Wingy Manone. Seeking financial security during the Great Depression years, he signed an exclusive and lucrative contract with the Paul Whiteman Orchestra from 1933 through 1938.
In 1940, Teagarden had some screen time with Bing Crosby in the movie Birth of the Blues, then in 1947 he joined Louis Armstrong's All Stars. Armstrong and Teagarden's duet on "Rocking Chair" was their most-requested number during those years. In late 1951, Teagarden left to lead his own band. He appeared with his group at the 1957 and 1958 Newport Jazz Festivals (making an appearance in Bert Stern's documentary film of the latter year's festivities, "Jazz on a Summer's Day"). His return engagement to Newport in 1959 was his last appearance at George Wein's annual clambake at Freebody Park. In 1961, he teamed up with Eddie Condon for a television show/recording. He died of a heart attack on Jaunary 15, 1964 in his room at the Prince Conti Hotel in the French Quarter of New Orleans. He was 58 years old.
Trumpeter Bobby Hackett, Teagarden's special guest on this '59 session at Newport, was born on January 31, 1915 in Providence, Rhode Island. A lyrical player with a mellow tone, Hackett heavily emulated his main inspiration, Louis Armstrong, although he was briefly known in the early part of his career as "the new Bix" for his similarity in approach to another trumpet hero, Bix Beiderbecke. Originally a guitarist, he performed in local bands before forming his first group in 1936. He moved to New York in 1937 and played with Joe Marsala then the following year appeared at Benny Goodman's Carnegie Hall concert. He recorded with Eddie Condon in 1939 and from 1941-42 was a member of Glenn Miller's Orchestra. In the 1950s, he was a featured player on a series of mood music albums produced by TV star Jackie Gleason and in 1956 he formed a group that tried to put a modern slant on Dixieland music. He recorded with Benny Goodman in the early '60s, backed Tony Bennett in the mid '60s and recorded with Dixieland trombonist Vic Dickenson in the late '60s. He remained active, including countless appearances at the Newport Jazz Festival, until his death in 1976. (Milkowski)