The trombonist-singer Jack Teagarden (1905-1964) was one of jazz's supreme individualists, a "traditional jazz" soloist par excellence who created his own uncategorizable tradition. "Big T.," who handled the "trambone," as he called it, with consummate ease, had led his own big band and was for years the featured sideman in his friend Louis Armstrong's finest All-Stars. These 1954 sessions spotlight Teagarden and three standout small groups (two sextets and a septet), whose collective personnel includes both veteran and younger trad and mainstream swing players. Produced by the critic-historian Leonard Feather, heard here as a pianist on some of the material, Meet Me Where They Play the Blues mixes high-spirited staples of the classic New Orleans jazz repertoire ("Original Dixieland One-Step," "King Porter Stomp," "High Society") with four numbers delightfully sung by Teagarden with musicianly phrasing and in his characteristic soft Texas drawl.
with Jimmy McPartland, Fred Greenleaf, Dick Cary, Edmond Hall, Kenny Davern, Norma Teagarden, Leonard Feather, Carl Kress, Walter Page, Kass Malone, Jo Jones, Ray Bauduc