Harvard, just recovering from a collective cold, seems to be enmeshed in an attack of the blues due to last at least a week. For with Woody Herman and "The Band That Plays The Blues" at the Kirkland House dance tonight, and Jack Teagarden, considered by many to be one of the greatest soloists in jazz, coming to Dunster House next Friday, it looks as though we are going to hear lots of the music that Paul Whiteman says "is the basis of all Jazz."
Woody's band, previously discussed in this column, plays excellent jazz, both Dixicland and colored style, has good soloists including Woody himself (clarinet), and in general makes for very interesting listening and dancing.
Teagarden has a new band; and since this is to be one of his first jobs, no really accurate information as to the band's performance can be obtained. However, this reviewer heard the rehearsals in New York and thought that it showed signs of being a really great organization. Charley Spivak, formerly Bob Crosby's ace trumpet man, Ernic Cacares, whose sax playing aroused so much comment in New York at Nick's, and Allan Reuss, formerly with Goodman (guitar) are all playing with the band. And Mr. Teagarden himself, known to the trade as "Big Gate," is going to lead the four man trombone section. Jack was playing hot trombone when Tommy Dorsey was playing licks on a milk bottle. Listen to "Texas Tea Party" (Columbia 31671) of "Moonglow" (Columbia 2927D, all made with the old Goodman band, to hear what Teagarden can do with a trombone. Thus while the quality of the band as a whole is an unknown, inspiring jazz is a certainty next Friday night.
Records: Tommy Dorsey's (Victor) "Symphony in Riffs" might sound a little better if played at a slower tempo. . . Richard Himber's imitation of Basie and other bands is done quite well (Victor) . . . About the Goodman Quintet's record of "Pick-A-Rib" (Victor): It sounds to me as if his brother Harry were the bass player on the record. And brother Harry runs a barbecue on 52nd Street in New York known as the Pick-A-Rib. That wouldn't be an advertisement, would it? The first side is uniformly bad, sounding something like one of Ray Scott's compositions. The second, done in boogie-woogie tempo is better, but shows that Teddy Wilson can't play this style . . . To find why many musicians like Red Norvo's band, listen to "I Get Along Without You Very. Well" (Vocation) . . . Teddy Wilson's "More Than You Know" (Brunswick) with Billie Holiday vocal and Benny Carter alto sax has that proper feeling that goes into a real swing record . . . Made three days before she started to sing regularly with the band, Helen O'Connell's first record with Jimmy Dorsey (Decca) "Romance Runs In The Family," is an excellent job, though not nearly up to what she can do . . . The record of "Fate" and "Deep Purple" is well worth getting, with Jimmy's famed trombone trio taking the former honors and Bob Eberle's vocal fitting the latter.
Notes between the notes: Truly magnificent swing criticism is advanced in a mildly insane article by Robert Benchley in the February issue of Listener's Digest entitled, "Swing: It Origin and Development." Sample quote: "I feel particularly fitted to discuss swing music, because I can't carry a tune either." . . . Recommended to those swing fans who specialize in trying to find unrecognized good jazz is Al Cooper's Savoy Sultans on Decca's race record series. The band cut Chick Webb and gave Basic a good scare . . The second of the Goodman bands to leave the mother organization (Harry James' being the first) is Teddy Wilson's bunch, scheduled to start in late March . . . The height of something is that Doctor Randall, formerly professor of medicine at Columbia University, is joining Red Norvo's band at the Raymor to take over the clarinet chair.
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