Jump to content

Jack Teagarden

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jack Teagarden
Teagarden c. 1944
Teagarden c. 1944
Background information
Birth nameWeldon Leo Teagarden
Born(1905-08-20)August 20, 1905
Vernon, Texas, U.S.
DiedJanuary 15, 1964(1964-01-15) (aged 58)
New Orleans, Louisiana
Instrument(s)Trombone, vocals
Years active1920–1964

Weldon Leo "Jack" Teagarden (August 20, 1905 – January 15, 1964)[1] was an American jazz trombonist and singer.[2] According to critic Scott Yanow of Allmusic, Teagarden was the preeminent American jazz trombone player before the bebop era of the 1940s and "one of the best jazz singers too".[3] Teagarden's early career was as a sideman with the likes of Paul Whiteman and lifelong friend Louis Armstrong.

Early life


Teagarden was born in Vernon, Texas, United States.[2] His brothers Charlie and Clois "Cub" and his sister Norma also became professional musicians. His father was an amateur brass band trumpeter and started him on baritone horn; by age seven he had switched to trombone. His first public performances were in movie theaters, where he accompanied his mother, a pianist.[4]

Music career

From left: Jack Teagarden, Sandy DeSantis, Velma Middleton, Fraser MacPherson, Cozy Cole, Arvell Shaw, Earl Hines, Barney Bigard, Palomar Supper Club, Vancouver, B.C., Canada (March 17, 1951)

Teagarden's trombone style was largely self-taught, and he developed many unusual alternative positions and novel special effects on the instrument. He is usually considered the most innovative jazz trombone stylist of the pre-bebop era – Pee Wee Russell once called him "the best trombone player in the world".[5]

By 1920, Teagarden was playing professionally in San Antonio, including with the band of pianist Peck Kelley.[2] In the mid-1920s he started traveling widely around the United States in a quick succession of different bands. In 1927, he went to New York City where he worked with several bands. By 1928 he played for the Ben Pollack band.[2]

In the late 1920s, he recorded with such bandleaders and sidemen as Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Bix Beiderbecke, Red Nichols, Jimmy McPartland, Mezz Mezzrow, Glenn Miller, Eddie Condon, and Fats Waller. In 1931, Teagarden’s early orchestra recorded the tune “Chances Are” with Fats Waller playing piano and Jack singing and playing trombone. Miller and Teagarden collaborated to provide lyrics and a verse to Spencer Williams' "Basin Street Blues", which in that amended form became one of the numbers that Teagarden played until the end of his days.[2]

Teagarden sought financial security during the Great Depression and signed an exclusive contract to play for the Paul Whiteman Orchestra from 1933 through 1938.[2] In 1946, Teagarden joined Louis Armstrong's All Stars.[2] In late 1951, Teagarden left to again lead his own band.[2]

He died of pneumonia in New Orleans at the age of 58.[1]


  • Big Jazz with Rex Stewart (Atlantic, 1953)
  • Holiday in Trombone (EmArcy, 1954)
  • Jack Teagarden Plays and Sings (Urania, 1954)
  • Meet the New Jack Teagarden Volume I (Urania, 1954)
  • Jazz Great (Bethlehem, 1955)
  • Accent On Trombone (Urania, 1955)
  • Big T's Jazz (Decca, 1956)
  • This Is Teagarden! (Capitol, 1956)
  • Swing Low, Sweet Spiritual (Capitol, 1957)
  • Jazz Ultimate with Bobby Hackett (Capitol, 1958)
  • Jack Teagarden at the Roundtable (Roulette, 1959)
  • Shades of Night (Capitol, 1959)
  • Mis'ry and the Blues (Verve, 1961)
  • Think Well of Me (Verve, 1962)
  • The Dixie Sound of Jack Teagarden (Roulette, 1962)
  • Jack Teagarden (Verve, 1962)
  • The Blues and Dixie (Rondo-lette, 1963)
  • A Portrait of Mr. T (Roulette, 1963)
  • Swinging Down in Dixie (Golden Tone, 1963)
  • King of the Blues Trombone (Epic, 1963)
  • Big T's Dixieland Band (Capitol, 1977)
  • Big T & the Condon Gang (Pumpkin, 1978)
  • Original Dixieland (Everest Archive, 1978)
  • Big Band Jazz (Everest Archive, 1979)
  • Mighty Like a Rose (Koala, 1979)
  • The Swingin' Gate (Jasmine, 1981)
  • The Big Band Sound of Bunny Berigan & Jack Teagarden (Folkways, 1982)
  • Tribute to Teagarden (Pausa, 1983)
  • Birth of a Band (Giants of Jazz, 1985)
  • 100 Years from Today (Grudge, 1990)
  • The Complete Capitol Fifties Jack Teagarden Sessions (Mosaic, 1996)
  • It's Time for T (Naxos, 2006)
  • Father of Jazz Trombone (Avid Entertainment, 2004)

As guest


See also



  1. ^ a b "Jack Teagarden Is Dead at 58; Jazz Trombonist and Vocalist; Some Critics Considered Him a Genius — His Technique Was Largely Self‐Taught". The New York Times. January 16, 1964. Retrieved August 2, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 1165. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  3. ^ "Jack Teagarden - Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 21 April 2019.
  4. ^ "Teagarden, Jack (Weldon Leo)" Archived 2012-09-30 at the Wayback Machine, Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians.
  5. ^ "The Best Trombone Player in the World", by Gary Giddins, originally published in The Village Voice, March 1977; reprinted in Riding on a Blue Note: Jazz & American Pop, Oxford University Press, 1981.