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 Jack Teagarden

Jack Teagarden

Birth
Vernon, Wilbarger County, Texas, USA
Death 15 Jan 1964 (aged 58)
New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana, USA
Burial Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Hillside, Lot 3821, Grave 4
Memorial ID 7475 · View Source
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Jazz Musician, Actor, Singer. He was born Weldon Leo in Vernon, Texas to Charles and Helen Teagarden, his father an oil worker, part time cornet player, his mother a local piano instructor and a church organist. Their four children all became prominent musicians, Sister Norma, pianist, brothers Charley, trumpet and Clois, drummer. His mother gave him piano lessons and by age five was a fairly proficient player. Mostly self taught, at seven, Weldon was tooting the baritone horn and around age ten, his arms now long enough, began playing his trademark instrument, the trombone which later he used while in a high school band. When thirteen, with the death of his father, the family moved to Chappell, Nebraska. He made his first professional appearance playing duet with his mother at local movie houses accompanying silent films, first in Vernon, then Chappell. At age sixteen, he played with a quartet group at the Horn Palace Inn, in San Antonio led by drummer Cotton Bailey who gave him the moniker, "Jack." A succession of different bands followed as he moved itinerantly around the country. In the late 1920's, his career soared when he joined the Ben Pollack Orchestra while beginning a prolific recording career, singing with notable band leaders and sidemen as Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Bix Beiderbecke, Red Nichols, Jimmy McParland, Mezz Mezzrow, Glenn Miller and Eddie Condon. He was featured on most of the major recording companies...RCA Victor, Columbia, Decca, Capitol and MGM discs. Among his most famous recordings are "The sheik of Araby" "Stars Fell on Alabama" and "Basin Street Blues." He had a fledgling movie career with several appearances..."The Birth of the Blues, "The Glass Wall" and "Jazz on a Summer's Day." In the depths of the great depression, Jack achieved financial success by joining the Paul Whiteman band in 1933, culminating five years later with the formation of his own group, "The Jack Teagarden Orhestra." Financial losses caused by waning interest and end of the big band era, forced the orchestra to disband at war's end in 1945. He quickly joined Louis Armstrong's All-stars as a featured soloist. The group traveled to Europe in the postwar achieving great success. With abuse heaped upon him, Teagarden became the first white musician to travel on the road with an all-black band. Trains, hotels and restaurants often refused them service unless they split up. He left Armstrong and formed the Jack Teagarden All Stars Dixieland band in 1951. The group was such a success that the State Department authorized a goodwill tour of Europe and Asia. Jack simply faded away from national prominence, but continued to perform with his own Dixieland bands which through the years would be disbanded and resurrected again with new members. He would play the nightclub circuit covering the entire country including Canada. However, bookings became a problem, jazz was no longer popular, Jack was overweight, aging and poor health began to take its toll.. The fateful day came during an engagement commencing on Christmas Eve, 1963, at the Dream Room in the New Orleans's French Quarter. Two weeks later, consumed with illness, he made a visit to the emergency room of a New Orleans Hospital. Diagnosed with bronchial pneumonia and refusing hospital admission, returned to the Dream Room for a performance, so ill, it was necessary for him to sit to complete his playing. Jack returned to the Prince Conti Motor Hotel where he was staying, and was found by the room-maid the next afternoon, dead in his room at age 58. His remains were taken to a funeral parlor on St. Charles Avenue where a short wake was held prior to his remains being flown to Los Angeles for burial. His service was held in the chapel at Forest Lawn Mortuary, Hollywood Hills. A trio of trombones wailed their final lament for Jack, one of the finest to have ever lived.. Legacy...Inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame in 1985. Always an innovator, he improved musical instruments with his tinkering, redesigned mouthpieces, mutes and water vales while devising a new musical slide rule. In a bit of trivia, "Think Well of Me" was a recording Jack made prior to his death and released in 1962. It is made up of his singing and trombone playing. It best sums up his recording career.

Bio by: Donald Greyfield


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 8 Dec 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 7475
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Jack Teagarden (20 Aug 1905–15 Jan 1964), Find A Grave Memorial no. 7475, citing Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills), Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .