November 1998

Louis Armstrong/Jack Teagarden/Woody Herman
Midnights at V-disc
Jazz Unlimited

Here are two sessions arranged by George Simon for V-Discs in December 1944 and January 1945. On hand at the first were all kinds of famous stars-Louis Armstrong, Bobby Hackett, Lips Page, Jack teagarden, Trummy Young, Don Byas and Cozy Cole among them-with mixed results. there's rather too much singing, a lugubrious low being reached by Red McKenzie on "Can't We Talk It Over." Pops has no trouble topping such warblers as Teagarden and Page in his "I'm Confessin'," and he emphasizes his trumpet supremacy on "Jack Armstrong Blues." Pianist Johnny Guarneri is in splendid form and Ernie Caceres blows consistently approriate clarinet throughout. On two takes of "Rosetta" there are enterprising solos from Byas, Shavers and Young, but the trombonist was evidently not invited to sing on the number, one with which he was extremely familiar. Teagarden and Hackett, needless to say, make the expected agreeable appearences.

The second session opens with Shavers and Byas again, this time on "The Jeep is Jumpin'," but with a poor rhythm section and at a poor tempo. the other five numbers are mostly by members of Woody Herman's band, including Bill Harris, Flip Phillips, Ralph Burns, Chubby Jackson, and Dave Tough. the boss himself sings a moving "Somebody Loves Me," Ben Webster guests on three tracks, and Marjorie Hyams makes refreshing contributions on vibes.

Originally published in November 1998
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