Jack Teagarden's Big Eight: Jack Teagarden (trombone); Ben Webster (tenor saxophone); Rex Stewart (cornet); Barney Bigard (clarinet); Billy Taylor (piano); Dave Tough (drums); Billy Kyle, Brick Fleagle.
Pee Wee Russell's Rhythm Makers: Pee Wee Russell (clarinet); Dickie Wells (trombone); James P. Johnson (piano); Freddy Green (guitar); Wellman Braud (bass); Zutty Singleton (drums); Max Kaminsky, Al Gold.
Originally released on Riverside (141).
Two unrelated small-group sessions from the swing era that were originally recorded for the H.R.S. (Hot Record Society) label are reissued in full on this enjoyable CD. Trombonist Jack Teagarden takes a vacation from his big band to play with an all-star octet that also includes cornetist Rex Stewart, clarinetist Barney Bigard, and tenor saxophonist Ben Webster. Teagarden sings "St. James Infirmary" and is quite fluent on "Shine." The other set has the unique clarinetist Pee Wee Russell and a different octet (which includes trumpeter Max Kaminsky, trombonist Dicky Wells, tenor saxophonist Al Gold, and pianist James P. Johnson) romping on a blues and three Dixieland standards; in addition Russell, Johnson, and drummer Zutty Singleton stretch out on "I Found a New Baby" and "Everybody Loves My Baby." Easily recommended to classic jazz fans. ~ Scott Yanow