Thurman Teague

Biography by

Fans of bandleader Harry James may know Thurman Teague as the trusty bassist in the James gang from the late '30s up until the mid-'40s. Teague's assignments with James included backing up vocalist Frank…
Read Full Biography

Artist Biography by

Fans of bandleader Harry James may know Thurman Teague as the trusty bassist in the James gang from the late '30s up until the mid-'40s. Teague's assignments with James included backing up vocalist Frank Sinatra. Teague was something of a multi-instrumentalist, branching out into the bass-sounding sections of the saxophone family as well as starting out his career as a banjoist and guitarist before he decided to pick on something that would be much harder to push around. It was on the former smaller axes that he gigged with bandleader Jack Goss circa 1930. Shortly thereafter Teague was on bass with Ben Pollack's group.

Teague continued performing in the '30s with groups such as the orchestra of Vincent Lopez and a merry outfit known as the King's Jesters. Following the aforementioned lengthy stretch with James, the bassist settled into the calmly swinging rhythm section of trumpeter Red Nichols, working in that group until switching to largely studio sessions in 1946. In that capacity Teague was wisely based on the West Coast, preferring the relaxed atmosphere of nearby Reseda to residing in Los Angeles itself. Discographers claim that by 1956 Teague had played on nearly 150 different jazz recording sessions.