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I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues

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Album Review

Here is a collection of 18 tracks in which the ebullient trombonist and vocalist Jack Teagarden is prominent. The performances themselves deserve a higher rating, maybe the highest possible, but anyone save the most casual listener will want to own something more representative and detailed than this sort of set. The basic program featured here, in which there are segments of Benny Goodman swing, the blues compositions of W.C. Handy, and funny novelties including "The Sheik of Araby" and "Texas Tea Party," originated as a budget-line LP on Epic. Various versions have come out, consumers having the pick of vinyl editions with skimpy playing time or a digital version that has been expanded into what also constitutes skimpy playing time for that format. Good stuff galore is to be heard, fear not, if someone is stuck having to listen to Jack Teagarden on this kind of cheapster release. Fats Waller drops by with a loud thump; so do several interesting session guitarists from the period such as Perry Botkin. These are just a few of the names worth mentioning on a selection of titles that goes between 1929 and 1934, copyright issues about as vague as the dust from a witch doctor's bag. Teagarden himself makes every cut a pleasure, whether indulging in odd moments of soloing magic or delivering a rise for one and all with his vocals.


Born: August 20, 1905 in Vernon, TX

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s

One of the classic giants of jazz, Jack Teagarden was not only the top pre-bop trombonist (playing his instrument with the ease of a trumpeter) but one of the best jazz singers too. He was such a fine musician that younger brother Charlie (an excellent trumpeter) was always overshadowed. Jack started on piano at age five (his mother Helen was a ragtime pianist), switched to baritone horn, and finally took up trombone when he was ten. Teagarden worked in the Southwest in a variety of territory bands...
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