Coast Concert

Bobby Hackett

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Coast Concert Review

by Scott Yanow

In the 1950s, Bobby Hackett's pretty tone was often utilized on mood music albums, most notably by Jackie Gleason, but he never lost his ability to play hot jazz, and in the fall of 1955 he was part of the Dixieland Jubilee presented by Frank Bull and Gene Norman at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles -- also featured on the program was Hackett's longtime colleague Jack Teagarden, who was in superb form at this point in his career. The results of that concert were so felicitous that Capitol Records OK'd the recording of Coast Concert, featuring Hackett leading an octet that included Teagarden on trombone and vocals, and also old friends Abe Lincoln on trombone and Matty Matlock on clarinet. Capitol was concerned with sales and had the group stick to familiar standards, such as "I Want a Big Butter and Egg Man," "That's a Plenty," "Basin Street Blues" (beautifully sung by Teagarden), and "Struttin' with Some Barbecue." Hackett's cornet is center stage on some beautiful solos, ranging from the ebullient brilliance of "Struttin' with Some Barbecue" to the subdued, gorgeous lyricism of "Basin Street Blues," the latter beautifully sung by Teagarden and offering two solos by Hackett and a gorgeous spot for Matlock's clarinet, plus Don Owens' elegantly understated pianism. The top-notch players really inspire each other with some heated ensembles and creative solo work, and the result is one of Hackett's finest sessions of the 1950s. It had no small effect on Teagarden's career as well -- Capitol ended up doing a quartet of follow-up albums by the legendary trombonist/singer, cut between January 1956 and April of 1958, which included some of his finest late-career work. As of 2005, Coast Concert had not been re-released by itself on CD by Capitol, but those much wiser heads at Mosaic Records included it -- since it's as much a Teagarden effort as a Hackett session -- as part of The Complete Capitol Fifties Jack Teagarden Sessions. What's more, they slipped in one choice outtake, a killer rendition of "St. James Infirmary Blues" featuring Teagarden on vocals paired with Hackett's cornet.

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