The Red Nichols sessions of July 2-3, 1930: who plays the trumpet solos?

by David Tenner

This post is about the Red Nichols and His Five Pennies sessions of July 2-3, 1930. My question is, who takes the trumpet solos--Nichols or Charlie Teagarden? First, the personnel as given by Rust:

RED NlCHOLS AND HlS FlVE PENNlES: Red Nichols, Ruby Weinstein, Charlie Teagarden, t / Jack Teagarden,
Glenn Miller, tb / Benny Goodman, cl / Sid Stoneburn, as / Babe Russin, ts / Joe Sullivan, p / Treg Brown, bj / Art
Miller, sb / Gene Krupa, d. New York, July 2, 1930.
E-33304-A Peg O' My Heart
Br 4877, 6835, 01019, A-8962, Dec BM-1 1 66
E-33304-B Peg O' My Heart
Br 80004
E-33305-A Sweet Georgia Brown
Br 4944, 6841, 01048, A-8997
E-33306-A China Boy
Br 4877, 6835, 01019, 80004, A-8962, Dec BM-1 166, F-49014
E-33307-A-B Chong (He Come From Hong Kong)
Br unissued
Jack Teagarden, Treg Brown, v. New York, July 3, 1930.
E-33333-A The Sheik Of Araby - vJT-TB
Br 4885, 6836, 80005, 01 104, A-8866, A-500403
E-33334-A Shim-Me-Sha-Wabble
Br 4885, 6836, 01204, A-886, A-500200
E-33334-B Shim-Me-Sha-Wabble
Br 80005

The tracks are available as follows:

China Boy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_kPaMXwj24
Peg O' My Heart: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCMmF_sfCpE
Sweet Georgia Brown: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mf7p3L-mv7M
The Sheik of Araby: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EahbQ9dDXww
Shim-Me-Sha-Wabble: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXQCEtak6Go

For a long time, I had simply assumed that all trumpet solos in these sessions were by Red himself. This conclusion was not the result of close listening so much as it was something taken for granted because these were after all Red's sessions; I had thought that however generous he was giving solo space to sidemen with different instruments, he would take all the trumpet solos himself. However, it turns out that several critics say that some of the solos are by Charlie Teagarden--though they disagree about which ones!

(1) From Dan Morgenstern's notes to the Decca Jazz CD, "BG and Big Tea in NYC": "Nichols had the good grace to occasionally feature other trumpeters, and it is sixteen-year-old Charlie Teagarden who is heard on Sheik of Araby and on *Peg o' My Heart* (opening solo only; Nichols leads the closing ensembles, contrasting his clipped phrasing with young Teagarden's clearly Louis/Bix inspired relaxation)."

(2) From Howard J. Waters, Jr., *Jack Teagarden's Music,* pp. 71-72. Waters states "NOTE: Trumpet solo on PEG O' MY HEART was by Charlie Teagarden." Evidently, Waters believes that this was the only trumpet solo on these sessions not by Nichols. In fact, he specifically states "NOTE: The trumpet solo on SHEIK OF ARABY was Red Nichols, rather than Charlie Teagarden as was erroneously stated in the notes for Brunswick Album V-1001."

(3) As if that wasn't confusing enough, Albert McCarthy in his article on Red Nichols for Albert McCarthy et al, *Jazz on Record: A Critical Guide to the First Fifty Years: 1917-1967* (1968) states (p. 215) "*China boy* is superior to many Five Pennies recordings, benefiting from the presence of Jack and Charlie Teagarden, Benny Goodman and Joe Sullivan, all of whom take attractive solos." So McCarthy evidently beleives that Charlie Teagarden took the trumpet solo on China Boy whereas I had always assumed that it was not only by Nichols but was one of Nichols' best solos! In fact, I haven't been able to find anyone who agrees with McCarthy here; Sudhalter in Lost Chords (p. 144) writes that the China Boy trumpet solo represents Nichols "at his best, a well-turned summation of his view of Bix..." (Sudhalter also agrees with Morgenstern and Waters about "Charles Teagarden's impassioned opening to 'Peg o' My Heart (Nichols does the double-time passage near the end)..."

So I think it's agreed that Charlie Teagarden takes the first solo on *Peg o' My Heart*; there seems to be a disagreement on *Sheik of Araby*; and everyone but McCarthy seems to ageee it's Red on *China Boy.* The remaining trumpet solos are presumably all by Red.

Any thoughts?

Posted on Jul 21, 2017, 6:38 AM

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