Jack Teagarden Sextet Featuring Don Ewell

Jack Teagarden

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Jack Teagarden Sextet Featuring Don Ewell Review

by Dave Nathan

After leaving Louis Armstrong in 1951, Jack Teagarden was to work exclusively in a sextet setting until his death in 1964. This album is a transcription of one of these groups, a 1958 broadcast from the Modern Jazz Room in Cleveland, OH. The program is material that Teagarden had been performing for years and which the public wanted to hear. The trombone style, so personal to him, remains in fine fettle and his voice on the blues and up tempo numbers holds up very well. But on ballads, one detects the toll years of performing and drinking have taken. The piano chair in this incarnation of the sextet is the fine stride piano player, Don Ewell. Ewell, an under valued stride piano player in the tradition of James P. Johnson and Fats Waller, cut around 25 recordings as a leader, but very few of them have made the transition from LP to CD. He has another piece of bad luck on this LP. His piano is so far away from the mike that he can barely be heard, even when he solos. One of the more amusing moments from this session was Jerry Fuller quoting from the clarinet opening of George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" within a traditional jazz context. There are relatively few recordings documenting Teagarden's sextets and although this LP is out of print, scouring flea markets and used book stores may locate a copy.

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