T is for Texas, trombones….and Teagarden. Known as the father of jazz trombone, Jack Teagarden was born today in 1905.
Jazz bandleader/vocalist Weldon “Jack” Teagarden was born, Vernon, Texas, USA. The son of a trumpet player, Jack took up the trombone at the age of ten, moving to New York City in 1928 to further his musical career.
Nicknamed “Mr.T”, Jack ’s eye-catching soloing saw him play with a number of bands but he chose to throw his lot in with Paul Whiteman’s Orchestra in 1933 – signing a five year contract that would preclude him from fronting his own ensemble.
Free of ties by 1939, Teagarden fronted his own hastily-assembled band which surived during the war years but was never financially successful and ultimately broke up in 1946. Recruited to play in Louis Armstong’s All-Stars, Jack enjoyed a four year stint before leaving to form his own sextet, featuring his brother Charlie on trumpet and playing Dixieland jazz.
The late 1950s found Teagarden touring Europe and Asia, with his last major show proving to be a performance at the Monterey Jazz Festival in September 1963. Accompanied by his brother on trumpet, mother and sister (both playing piano), the set included fine renditions of “Sweet Georgia Brown”, “Body and Soul” and unofficial theme tune “Basin Street Blues”.
Teagarden”s very final show came in a New Orleans club (“The Dream Room”) in January 1964. Suffering from bronchial pneumonia, he made it back to his hotel – a short distance from Basin Street itself – but was found dead by a maid the following day. The headstone on his grave reads, “Where there is hatred, Let me sow love”.
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And here’s some footage of Jack in action: