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Jack Teagarden

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Jack Teagarden


Ah, Jack Teagarden. He had it all. Teagarden was jazz's first great trombonist, and he changed the way the slide was used. He sang with an endearing Texas drawl, had Satchmo's phrasing and charm, and the blues billowing out of his every pore. Teagarden hit NYC big in 1928. He recorded with Bessie Smith, Red Nichols, Bix Beiderbecke, Fats Waller, and even Louis Armstrong himself. Then he signed an exclusive contract with Paul Whiteman -- a square who hired hip musicians -- in 1933 but was hardly ever featured. In 1939, Teagarden was able to free himself from his contract and start his own band. Competition was fierce during the Swing era and coupled with World War II, his band went bust in 1946. Bing Crosby paid off Teagarden's debts and Teagarden joined Louis Armstrong's group until 1951. After that, he led his own small group to much acclaim until his death from a heart attack in 1963. Teagarden made having the blues feel like a joyous privilege.
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