At the Roundtable

Jack Teagarden

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At the Roundtable Review

by Scott Yanow

Recorded at the Roundtable nightclub in New York City on July 1, 1959, this performance marked the beginning of a new, penultimate phase of Jack Teagarden's recording career. His Capitol Records contract having ended the previous spring, he then performed for the portable recording equipment of Roulette Records, which would release some of the sides recorded at this gig as a live album, and which would, for a time, revive his fortunes. Although he's a little less agile and powerful, having reached his late 50s after a career's worth of constant work, and some health problems (later resolved), the cohesiveness of the band makes this release well-worth hearing. The group, in a typical live set, plays seven Dixieland warhorses and the obscure "When" (which was written by the King of Thailand). Teagarden, trumpeter Don Goldie, clarinetist Henry Cuesta, the great stride pianist Don Ewell, bassist Stan Puls, and drummer Ronnie Greb put on a lively, crowd-pleasing show highlighted by "South Rampart Street Parade," "St. James Infirmary" (sung by Teagarden), "St. Louis Blues," and Ewell's feature on "Honeysuckle Rose." [Note: as of 2005, At the Roundtable has never been reissued on its own, but is part of Mosaic's Complete Roulette Jack Teagarden Sessions, augmented with a significant body of unreleased track from this same performance.]