Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

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TESCHEMACHER, Frank

(b 13 March '06, Kansas City MO; d 1 March '32, Chicago) Clarinettist, very influential despite his short life and all out of proportion to the number and quality of recordings (he allegedly disliked recording). He also played alto sax and violin with the original Austin High Gang; to NYC '28 and achieved a considerable reputation; he worked for Ben Pollack, bandleader/contractor Sam Lanin, was back in Chicago late '28. Tesch had an uncompromising musical personality by the time he was 21 years old, an intense melodic style somehow both dense and spare at once. In recordings made '27--8 with the famous Chicagoans he is often the most interesting musician present; recording with New Yorkers Miff Mole and Red Nichols '28 (in some ways the avant-garde of their day) he was obviously stimulated: we cannot imagine what he might have gone on to do. He made one side as a leader; Frank Teschemacher's Chicagoans made 'Jazz Me Blues' '28 in Chicago, with Eddie Condon, Joe Sullivan, Mezz Mezzrow, Gene Krupa, two others. He also recorded with the Chicago Rhythm Kings, McKenzie/Condon Chicagoans, Elmer Schoebel, etc. He was working for Wild Bill Davison and was killed in a car crash while Davison was driving; for some years some of the musicians blamed Davison, who must have felt bad enough as it was.