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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf




Jazz Me Blues

Retrospective RTR 4194



1. Jazz Me Blues
2. Sugar
3. China Boy
4. Nobody's Sweetheart
5. Liza
6. There'll Be Some Changes Made
7. I've Found A New Baby
8. Baby, Won't You Please Come Home?
9. Friars' Point Shuffle
10. The Darktown Strutters' Ball
11. Bullfrog Blues
12. I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate
13. Nobody's Sweetheart
14. One Step To Heaven (Windy City Stomp)
15. Shim-Me-Sha-Wabble
16. Oh, Baby!
17. Indiana
18. 'Round Evening
19. Cherry
20. Trying To Stop My Crying
21. Isn't There A Little Love?
22. Wabash Blues
23. Copenhagen
24. Prince Of Wails
25. Barrelhouse Stomp
26. Wailing Blues


Frank Teschemacher is a neglected name in the jazz world. This may be because he died at such a young age, when he was nearly 26 - younger than the death date of his idol, Bix Beiderbecke, who lasted until the age of 28. Another reason may be that he usually played as a member of someone else's band - not performing as a leader. So he is known as a member of the Austin High School Gang and the McKenzie/Condon Chicagoans. Yet his clarinet style is said to have influenced Benny Goodman and Pee Wee Russell, and he contributed to many important recordings of the 1920s.

He was actually a multi-instrumentalist, having taken up the piano and violin when young, then mandolin, banjo and alto sax. He only adopted the clarinet in 1925, and he is featured on these recordings on clarinet and alto sax. Although Eddie Condon described him as "studious, solemn with a ruddy Dutch complexion, mousey hair and large horn-rimmed glasses", he fitted in well with the Chicago musicians. The Chicago style came to be associated with groups led by Eddie Condon and it eventually moved from Chicago to New York. Listening to these tracks, one can understand how Pee Wee Russell was influenced by Teschemacher, as Frank had a similar high-pitched sound, although his playing seems more fluent and dextrous than Russell's.

The tracks on this album were all recorded between 1927 and 1930, opening with one of Tesch's best-known performances on Jazz Me Blues, leading the way on easy-going clarinet, which sometimes reminds one of Pee Wee when it tends to screech. This is the only track that is billed as by "Frank Teschemacher & His Chicagoans", and the line-up included Jimmy McPartland, Bud Freeman, Joe Sullivan, Eddie Condon and Gene Krupa, who were all stalwarts of the Chicago scene. Later featured players include Muggsy Spanier, Red Nichols and George Wettling. Tesch is also heard playing with groups led by Miff Mole, the Dorsey Brothers, Wingy Manone and Ted Lewis.

Items of particular interest are the four 1927 tracks by McKenzie & Condon's Chicagoans, which are rightly considered classics of the genre; Darktown Strutters' Ball, which has an impressive clarinet solo in the low register; and One Step To Heaven and Shim-Me-Sha-Wabble with Miff Mole's Molers, featuring Tesch alongside the trombonist leader and the glorious Red Nichols. Two tracks by an Eddie-Condon-led quartet illustrate Gene Krupa's driving drumming.

Teschemacher recorded comparatively little during his short career, and the 26 tracks on this CD represent a good proportion of his recorded output. This album can be considered an authoritative tribute to one of those musicians who, in jazz parlance, are described as "sidemen" but who make immeasurable contributions.

Tony Augarde

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