A publicity photo of Wingy Manone shows him apparently poised in the act of doing the dance called a buck-and-wing, but that's not where the moniker came from. When Joe Manone was ten years old he lost his right arm in a trolley accident. In time he came to be called "Wingy," and wore a wooden limb with a glove over the end of it, securing his cornet between the wooden fingers and working its valves with his left hand. Wingy's bands swung hard. He developed a warm, gruff voice and almost invariably displayed a wild sense of humor. What Classics 774 delivers is a step-by-step synopsis of Manone's earliest work, including quite a bit of previously hard to find material. The four titles from 1927 were recorded in Wingy's home town of New Orleans. Earl Warner's twerpy vocal on the first selection illustrates exactly why listeners should be thankful for Wingy's decision to develop himself as a singer. Up in Chicago a year and a half later, Wingy fell in with a set of rough-and-tumble blokes who earnestly cooked each number to the bone. Next stop: the Gennett recording studio in Richmond, IN, where Manone led two sessions under the inspiring banner of Barbecue Joe & His Hot Dogs during the late summer and early autumn of 1930. Every single one of these sides is solid and catchy, especially the Hot Dogs' revival of Papa Charlie Jackson's "Shake That Thing." Most notably, "Tar Paper Stomp," also known as "Wingy's Stomp," is the earliest known recording involving a bouncy lick that would show up in Fletcher Henderson's book as "Hot and Anxious" and eventually earn a lot of money for Glenn Miller as "In the Mood." Here on Wingy's plate it comes across honest and natural as hash browns and scrambled eggs with a little bit of hot sauce. There is a discernible change in Wingy's voice over the span of just a few years. In 1928 he's earnest enough but doesn't attract a whole lot of attention. By 1930 he's sounding tougher. But the Wingy of 1934 calls out in a voice of magnetic, husky friendliness that would distinguish him for the rest of his days. Wingy's consistent front line of cornet (or trumpet after 1930), clarinet, and tenor sax was only occasionally beefed up with a trombone or extra trumpets. Three of the five tenors represented here languish in obscurity; Bud Freeman and Eddie Miller are familiar names, but who on earth was George Snurpus? This is exactly why early jazz studies are so adventuresome. You never know who is going to appear before your startled ears. Any hankering for famous and proven presences will be more than satisfied by the session of August 15, 1934. Wingy, Dicky Wells, Artie Shaw, and Bud Freeman are supported by Kaiser Marshall, John Kirby, guitarist Frank Victor, and your choice of pianists Teddy Wilson or Jelly Roll Morton. If that don't get it, nothing will.
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