Jack Teagarden

Portrait of Mr. T

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Cut at a series of sessions in late January and early February 1961, the music on Portrait of Mr. T is interchangeable with the content of The Dixie Sound, which came from the same sessions -- the difference is that Portrait of Mr. T was a memorial album, not released until after Jack Teagarden's death in 1964. Regardless, this is a good album, even if the better material from the sessions was pulled for its predecessor, and it is a little bit subdued compared with the Big T's earlier releases. It shows that he still had it in 1961, even on material that was passed over the first time. The title track sets the tone, an atmospheric blues co-authored by Don Goldie that is as good as anything Teagarden cut in this vein during the extended Indian summer of his career -- and speaking of Goldie, he's featured prominently on one of the highlights of this album, the rendition of the Bix Beiderbecke tune "In the Dark." The only dubious moment comes on "Rockin' Chair," when Teagarden and Goldie re-create a piece of their live set, the Big T's duet with Louis Armstrong, with Goldie subbing vocally for Armstrong, and even it is rescued by some superb playing. [This album, like its predecessors on Roulette, hasn't shown up as a freestanding CD release, but it has been included in Mosaic's excellent Complete Roulette Jack Teagarden Sessions box set.]