Frank Teschemacher: Age 25 | Cause Of Death: CAR CRASH

Frank Teschemacher

(b. Mar 13, 1906 in Kansas City, MO, d. Feb 29, 1932 in Chicago, IL)

Frank Teschemacher was a member of the Austin High Gang, a group of young White jazz musicians in Chicago in the 1920s. Teschemacher made his recording debut in 1927 with the McKenzie-Condon Chicagoans and has a very hot clarinet solo on “Nobody’s Sweetheart”. He was a multi-talented musician who played clarinet, violin, banjo, and alto sax. Teschemacher recorded in Chicago on a variety of sessions in 1927, then moved to New York in 1928, where he played with Ben Pollack, Sam Lanin and Red Nichols and then returned to Chicago the following year….On the blustery evening of February 29, 1932 Tesch invited Wild Bill Davison to spend the night at his apartment to prepare for a band rehearsal the following day. They took Davidson’s Packard Phaeton convertible and made a few stops on the way, one of which was in the company of drummer George Wettling at bandleader Charlie Straight’s speakeasy. At about 2:00 am Davison was northbound on Magnolia Avenue in the city’s Uptown neighborhood approaching Wilson Avenue with the Packard’s top down. Tesch was hunched down against the wind and cold in the front seat with his hands thrust deeply into the pockets of a heavy overcoat. As Davison began to cross Wilson Avenue, his car was struck broadside by a Yellow Cab traveling on Wilson Avenue with its headlights off. The Packard was spun into a tree and both occupants were thrown over the windshield. Tesch struck his head on the concrete curb, suffering a very severe skull fracture. He was transported to Ravenswood Hospital (about a mile west of the accident site) where he died four hours later. The doctors believed that Tesch’s chances for survival would have been much improved had his hands been free to protect his head.   Although Davison was briefly detained by the police, a coroner’s inquest absolved both him and the cab driver of negligence. Still, the accident weighed heavily upon Davison and caused him to leave Chicago for several years.   Frank Teschemacher was interred at Woodlawn Cemetery in Forest Park, IL (not far from Austin High School) just ten days short of his twenty-sixth birthday and with his ex-wife, Helen, in attendance. His pallbearers included bandleader Floyd Town, drummer George Wettling and pianist Jess Stacy. ~Red Hot Jazz