This week on Riverwalk Jazz The Jim Cullum Jazz Band and guests take you on a tour of the jazz trombone, featuring the music of many of the great players of the pre-WWII era.
Kid Ory was the number one champion of New Orleans "tailgate" trombone. The term originated during the early days of jazz in the Crescent City when competing jazz bands would battle each other from the back of furniture wagons pulled by horses. Since space was limited, the trombone player was placed at the back end of the wagons so the long slide could be played over the tailgate. Today "tailgate" trombone refers to a sliding, smearing improvised ensemble style based in part on the bass parts of traditional jazz tunes.
Miff Mole was the leading trombonist of the New York studio scene of the 1920s. His style, in common with other lead instruments of the day, featured many syncopated, angular leaps of wide intervals. On our show this week trombonist Bob Havens plays an example of Miff's "hot" style—a showcase tour-de-force called "Slippin' Around."
Jack Teagarden is widely respected as the most influential jazz trombonist in history. He admired, and often recorded, the ballads of little-known composer Willard Robison. Teagarden loved Robison's wistful compositions like "Old Folks" and "Cottage for Sale," and played them in his trademark warm, bluesy style. Jack was very fond of a Robison piece "Think Well of Me," and took it as the title of one of his last albums.
Vic Dickenson was a well-known trombone player on the jazz scene from the 1930s through the 1980s. He played in bands led by a variety of jazz greats, including Sidney Bechet, Eddie Condon and Benny Carter. Vic was a master of the plunger mute which gave a growling, vocal quality to his trombone sound. Kenny Rupp has the trombone solos on "When You and I Were Young, Maggie" a Dickenson favorite and "Think Well of Me."
Tommy Dorsey, known as the "Sentimental Gentleman of Swing," led one of the most popular big bands of the Swing Era. The story goes that Dorsey wrote the very difficult "Trombonology" on his yacht while taking a two-year hiatus from the music business. Mike Pittsley tackles this one, as well as the lead trombone part on Dorsey's theme song, "I'm Gettin' Sentimental Over You."
This special broadcast is dedicated to Riverwalk Jazz Chairman Gen. Robert F. McDermott, in recognition of his community service and many contributions to music education.
Photo credit for home page teaser image: Jack Teagarden. Photo courtesy commandertrombone.com.
Based on Riverwalk Jazz script by Margaret Moos Pick ©2002