The Complete Roulette Jack Teagarden Sessions (#218)

Making A Band Work and Keeping It Working

This chapter of Jack Teagarden’s recorded legacy (1959-61) rightly puts the emphasis on his working sextet, the men with whom he traveled, lived and played every night. During his years at the larger Captiol and Verve labels, which immediately preceded and followed the Roulette recordings, he only made one album with his own group for each company. At Roulette, every album was by the sextet.

When musicians reach the age and prominence that Teagarden did in these years, the most lucrative and high profile jobs are usually all-star affairs. But such gigs are more about quick paychecks and nostalgic reunions than music. They are often staged without preparation and throw incompatible elements onto the same set for spectacular rather than musical reasons.

That Teagarden, like Louis Armstrong, developed and nurtured a real jazz band and kept it working says a great deal for his musical integrity. No super group could blend so beautifully and stay on the same emotional page as these six men doing on, say, the previously unissued “My Romance”, to cite a minor example.

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