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THE INSTRUMENTS, THE SOUNDS, THE PERFORMERS
Jimmy Harrison and Jack Teagarden were the late 1920s' greatest gifts to jazz trombone. During the next few years a number of other fine musicians, many of whom had already been on the scene for quite some time, demonstrated their facility and originality, though in no case could it be said that the impact and influence was comparable with that of these two masters. Front-rank trombonists of the '30s included Benny Morton, whose main affiliations during that period were with Fletcher Henderson, Don Redman and Count Basie, and whose vibrant, intense style with its attractive vibrato had a great deal in common with Jimmy Harrison; Tommy Dorsey, a smooth-toned expert in Dixieland jazz whose reputation veered toward a more commercial brand of popular music after his first record of Tm Getting Sentimental Over You, in 1932; and Dickie Wells, a greatly underrated artist heard with Henderson, Teddy Hill and Basie. Wells, whose legato style was spiced with a darting sense of humor, was the subject of a lengthy and enlightening analysis by Andre" Hodeir.1 Comparable in many respects with Dorsey (they were always mutual admirers) was Lawrence Brown, a member of the Duke Ellington team from 1932-51, whose best known jazz performance with that band was the politely bouncing Rose of the Rio Grande, though most of his successful solos were played in a strictly melodic vein less close to jazz.
A popular favorite with jazz fans in the late 1930s was James Trummy" Young, best known for his work m the Lunceford band from 1937-43. Lunceford combined semi-humorous glissandi with melodic passages that evinced a unique vitality. His biggest hit with Lunceford was Margie, which he has been performing in recent years as a member of the Louis Armstrong combo.
The late Fred Beckett, heard briefly with Lionel Hampton's band in 1941, has been described by Jay Jay Johnson as "the first trombonist I ever heard play in a manner other than the usual sliding, slurring, lip trilling or *gut bucket' style. He had tremendous facilities for linear improvisation." The only evidence of Beckett's early eminence, to the writer s knowledge, is a superlative solo on a record called A La Bridges by Harlan Leonard's orchestra, with Which he visited New York in 1939-40. At this writing the disc is unavailable.