, April 2002
"A friend of mine, who died recently, liked nothing better than to set up his canvas and acrylics, light a spliff, and drop a Jack Teagarden LP on his dusty turntable. He then slowly painted in a style that might be called a cross between Art Deco and Robert Crumb. It wasn't the music that killed him. Teagarden's balmy trombone and even smoother vocals defined 'mellow' before the transformation into 'cool.' Somehow the Texas drawl that rounded off the edges of his singing also purled through his trombone; he made everything sound easy, elegant, alive. A long career and short life (he died at the age of 59, overweight and alcoholic) brought him in contact with many great orchestras, and his own band, if poorly managed, rode the crest for several years. Naxos's highly enjoyable and generous compilation, produced by Torontonian David Lennick, reissues original recordings from 1933 to 1950, and recalls ensembles led by Benny Goodman, Paul Whiteman, Bud Freeman, George Wettling, Eddie Condon, Louis Armstrong, Charlie LaVere and Teagarden himself. A veritable who's who of early jazzmen swing their instruments, and Teagarden's vocals and velvet trombone shed a joyful sepia light through it all. Spin this one while spring cleaning."