Minute by minute and track for track, this disc contains an invigoratingly high concentration of Jack Teagarden's best music. Nearly half of the performances are instrumental and, with the exception of a pretty torch song sung by Christine Martin and a gruffly cheerful duet with Wingy Manone, the primary vocalist is Big Tea. After three marvelous V-Discs, including a six-minute version of "If I Could Be With You (One Hour Tonight)," a Commodore session erupts with a smokin' run through "Chinatown, My Chinatown" and a deeply steeped "Big T Blues," introduced by Jack's sister Norma Teagarden at the piano. While singing his homespun lyrics to this bluesy slow drag, Jack introduces Norma by name, then pays tribute to trumpeter Max Kaminsky. Norma proves that she was an exceptionally fine stride pianist as she sets up "Pitchin' a Bit Short" and Detroiter Bob Zurke's lively theme song, "Hobson Street Blues," which sounds a bit like a Broadway show tune. Back in Chicago on April 11, 1946, Mr. T's orchestra waxed half a dozen sides for the Teagarden Presents record label. Bobby Fischer delivers some Gene Krupa-styled drumming during the quirky "Martian Madness," the band smokes the tar out of "Way Down Yonder in New Orleans," and there is a grandiose rendition -- minus Rudyard Kipling's lyrics -- of "On the Road to Mandalay." On the first day of March 1947, Teagarden created one of his all-time greatest vocal and trombone ballad testimonials in the form of an intoxicating version of "Body and Soul." This precious live V-Disc recording begins with a spoken introduction by Bob Bach of Metronome magazine. Nine days later, master percussionist Davey Tough provided propulsive persuasion for Jack Teagarden's Big Eight, an ensemble including Max Kaminsky, clarinetist Peanuts Hucko, butter-toned tenor saxman Cliff Strickland, and one of Eddie Condon's most trusted pianists, Gene Schroeder. After a couple of expertly rendered blues, a tasty stomp with modern overtones simply called "Jam Session at Victor" sails in like a steam locomotive. As a surprise for dessert, the producers of this series have tacked on a pair of leftover big-band sides dating from November of 1939, issued in 1947 on V-Disc. This provides an example of how Dave Tough sounded as part of Teagarden's 16-piece big band. Their two-minute version of Jelly Roll Morton's "Wolverine Blues" is the perfect coda for this solidly satisfying album of rare and exciting traditional jazz.
AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf