Like his swing-era contemporary Louis Armstrong, Vernon's JACK TEAGARDEN was both a phenomenal jazz player and singer. He kept his trombone work loose and simple, favoring the upper register, where his glass-smooth liquid notes sliced through cleanly. His voice had a more smoky hue, loaded with a relaxed blues intonation. He also had something Armstrong didn't—bad luck. A contractual mistake kept him relegated to sideman status for much of his career, and in 1964 a heart attack closed his curtain early at age 58. If you've never heard Teagarden, The Complete Roulette Jack Teagarden Sessions (Mosaic) is a fine introduction, culled from a significant period (1959-1961) in the original Mr. T's career. And even if you already own the collection's five out-of-print LPs, more than two hours of this four-CD set has never seen release. Half live, half studio, this rollicking and seemingly effortless swing embellishes an already stellar, if sadly unsung, reputation.

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