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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke

Teddy Wilson
I want to be Happy
1944 to 1947
NAXOS Jazz Legends 8.120538


  1. China Boy
  2. Confessin'
  3. The Sheik of Araby
  4. I Surrender Dear
  5. Bugle Call Rag
  6. Every Time We Say Goodbye
  7. Dinah
  8. How High the Moon
  9. Memories of You
  10. Stompin' at the Savoy
  11. Blues Too
  12. time After Time
  13. Moon-faced, Starry-eyed
  14. After You've Gone
  15. Just for you Blues
  16. I Want to Be Happy
  17. As Time Goes By
  18. Whispering

Teddy Wilson is best remembered for his immaculate piano playing in the various Benny Goodman outfits. This record however finds him in various small group settings recorded in the 1944 to 1947 period. He was the master of 'less is more', always economical in notes but always convincing in performance. It is no wonder that all the top jazz performers of the day wanted to work with him. He is also said to have been a strong influence on singer Billie Holiday, whom he frequently worked with. There is never anything in his playing which sounds 'not quite right' and it was a great pleasure to be reminded of his work.

Six of the tracks have Charlie Shavers on trumpet and Red Norvo on Vibes and they swing along in a genteel sort of way. They are very good examples for young musicians to aspire to, most of the tracks are standards and all are attractive.

There are vocals from Maxine Sullivan(6), Sarah Vaughan(12) and Kay Penton(17) and in each case the backing Wilson provides is perfect for each voice.

Many other 'jazz greats' are also featured, Ben Webster, Buck Clayton, Don Byas, Charlie Ventura and Drummer J C Heard appear on different tracks. The last two tracks feature the trio with Billy Taylor Jr. Bass and Bill Purnell Drums.

Because he was not a flashy player it is easy to overlook the talents of Teddy Wilson and this budget priced CD gives an excellent opportunity for every collector to have a sample of his work.


Don Mather
Don Mather is a saxophone player and Bandleader in Coventry

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