NEVER BEFORE, NEVER AGAIN: BOBBY HACKETT and JACK GARDNER (February 15, 1945)

These performances are legendary and rare — sterling duets by Bobby Hackett, cornet or trumpet, and Jack Gardner, piano, rollicking telepathic improvisation. The date is approximate, but they were recorded in Chicago by John Steiner. Late in 1944, Bobby had joined the Casa Loma Orchestra, so this would have been like playing exalted hooky, especially with the barrelhouse joys provided by Jack — fun and frolic reminiscent of WEATHER BIRD.

My cassette copies came from the late Bob Hilbert and Roy Bower, and I am indebted to Sonny McGown for his educated commentary on these pearls.

The song is I AIN’T GONNA GIVE NOBODY NONE OF MY JELLY ROLL, and there are three versions, presented here in possibly arbitrary order — they may be reversed in terms of actual performances. And they might need speed-correction, but my technical expertise stops at that door.

Take X: two duet choruses, two piano choruses (suspensions in second), chorus of trading phrases, duet chorus. Time: 4:12

Take Y: (rehearsal?) one duet chorus, two piano choruses, Gardner starts a third and then they go to duet, two duet choruses. Time: 3:48

Take Z: (second rehearsal?) one duet chorus, one piano chorus, two duet choruses with Hackett overblowing Time 3:00.

And here, thanks to Sonny McGown, is another acetate version of take X:

This sweet offering is for Charles Iselin, Rob Rothberg, Marc Caparone, John Ochs, and everyone else who holds Bobby Hackett in the highest esteem. . . . and those enlightened types who value Jack Gardner as well. I suggest repeated reverent listenings to this music, both raucous and ethereal.

May your happiness increase!

6 responses to “NEVER BEFORE, NEVER AGAIN: BOBBY HACKETT and JACK GARDNER (February 15, 1945)

  1. Hi, Michael – that’s wonderful! Just so you know, your take X is the same as Sonny McGowan’s. Thanks for posting such marvelous and rare recordings!

  2. Thanks, Chris: I was posting both because they felt as if they were slightly different sonically.

  3. This is precious stuff. Thank you.

  4. Michael,
    That is wild, wild stuff. No place like Chicago!

  5. Like many others, these musicians deserve appreciation on their own. However, this duo seems to have had another in mind, too. Hackett — especially on those shouting high notes — sounds like the Armstrong of 1927. And Gardner plays here like Hines in a Texas barrelhouse.

  6. I can hear that, too, but I think some of it is natural exuberance: Bobby was released from playing charts and Jack didn’t know how to not have fun . . . glad you’re enjoying!

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