Teagarden, Jack

Teagarden, Jack

(Weldon Leo Teagarden), 1905–64, American jazz trombonist and singer, b. Vernon, Tex. One of the earliest white bluesmen, he came from a jazz-playing family and was mainly self-taught. He sometimes played with his brothers, trumpeter Charlie and drummer Cub, and sister, pianist Norma. In his twenties Teagarden wandered across America's Southwest, playing in several jazz groups, and arrived in New York in 1927. He played in bands led by Ben Pollack (1928–33), Paul WhitemanWhiteman, Paul,
1891–1967, American conductor, b. Denver. Whiteman played viola in the Denver Symphony Orchestra and in 1915 joined the San Francisco Symphony. During World War I he was an army band leader.
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 (1933–38), and Louis ArmstrongArmstrong, Louis
(Daniel Louis Armstrong), known as "Satchmo" and "Pops," 1901–1971, American jazz trumpet virtuoso, singer, and bandleader, b. New Orleans. He learned to play the cornet in the band of the Waif's Home in New Orleans, and after playing with Kid Ory's
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 (1947–51), and also led his own groups (1939–47; 1951–57). He began recording in the late 1920s and made many albums throughout his career. Teagarden was one of the great horn players of the mid-20th cent.; his trombone playing, seemingly effortless yet extremely accomplished technically, was uniquely smooth and lyrical. In addition, his somewhat gruff, drawling voice was ideal for singing the blues.


See biography by J. D. Smith (1976, rev. ed. 1988); study by H. J. Waters (1960).

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Teagarden, (Weldon John) Jack

(1905–64) jazz musician; born in Vernon, Texas. He was a trombonist and singer whose relaxed, melodic instrumental style was highly influential. He was a featured sideman with Ben Pollack and Paul Whiteman (1927–38), led his own big band (1939–46), appeared with Louis Armstrong's All-Stars (1947–51), and led small groups thereafter.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.