Jack Teagarden

Think Well of Me

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In the years between leaving Louis Armstrong's All-Stars and his death (1952-1963), the great trombonist and singer Jack Teagarden led a Dixieland-oriented sextet. Most of his recordings during that time period, while quite worthy, featured the usual standards and swing songs that had been associated with Teagarden since the '30s. But this particular project, which in 1998 was reissued as a limited-edition CD, was something quite different. Willard Robison was an unusual composer whose nostalgic and wistful songs usually extolled the virtues of country life; best-known among his tunes are "Old Folks," "Cottage for Sale," and "Tain't So, Honey Tain't So." For what would be his next-to-last album in January, 1962, he recorded ten Robison songs (plus the slightly out of place non-Robison standard "Where Are You") while backed by a string orchestra that included both a harp and his trumpeter Don Goldie. Bob Brookmeyer and Russ Case contributed all but one arrangement, and although the strings were certainly not necessary (since they do not add much to the music), the prestigious setting must have pleased the trombonist. All of the songs except for "I'm a Fool About My Mama" have vocals by Teagarden, and he puts plenty of restrained feeling into such obscure tunes as "Guess I'll Go Back Home This Summer," "Think Well of Me," and "'Round My Old Deserted Farm." His short solos are often quite exquisite, and this often touching, somewhat rare date is one of the strongest of his final period.

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