Bobby Hackett

Off Minor

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Although cornetist Bobby Hackett gets top billing, this budget CD is actually split between live sessions headed by Hackett in 1957 and trombonist Jack Teagarden in 1958. The six Hackett selections feature a very interesting group consisting of the leader, Dick Cary (the main arranger) on piano and alto horn, Ernie Caceres doubling on baritone and clarinet, Tom Gwaltney on clarinet and vibes, the tuba of John Dengler and drummer Buzzy Drootin. Although their versions of "Fidgety Feet" and "Royal Garden Blues" are typical Dixieland rousers, "Caravan" (which features Cary's peck horn in the lead), Duke Ellington's "Lady of the Lavender Mist" and the pianist's original "Handle with Cary" are much more modern than one would expect. In addition the vibes-piano-tuba-drums rhythm section does a fine job with Thelonious Monk's "Off Minor"; it is a pity that Hackett sat out on that song. The latter half of the CD features Jack Teagarden's regular group of the period (with the exciting trumpeter Dick Oakley, clarinetist Jerry Fuller, pianist Don Ewell, bassist Stan Puls and drummer Ronnie Gelb) running through four Dixieland warhorses with spirit and drive. The trumpeter who trades off with Oakley on "Royal Garden Blues" is probably Bobby Hackett. This is a recommended acquisition for trad jazz fans.