Rex Stewart


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After leaving Duke Ellington's Orchestra, cornetist Rex Stewart went to Europe for a few years, recording extensively. This entry in Classics' "complete" series has a four-song studio session and a jam cut shortly before Stewart went overseas plus sessions in Paris (including six tunes from a concert) and Stockholm. The music is fairly erratic overall. There are some fireworks on a quartet date with pianist Billy Kyle, bassist John Levy, and drummer Cozy Cole, and the two-part, privately recorded "I May Be Wrong" has its moments. With the exception of a previously unreleased alternate take of "Blue Jay" from 1945 (which has a vocal by Joya Sherrill) that had been discovered and was tagged on to the end of this CD, the other selections find Stewart heading a group also including trombonist Sandy Williams (he has some of his best late-period solos), John Harris on clarinet and alto, tenor-saxophonist Vernon Story, pianist Don Gais, Simon Brehm or Fred Ermelin on bass, and drummer Ted Curry. Stewart sings "Run to the Corner" and Honey Johnson is strangely country-oriented on "Waitin' for the Train to Come In"; otherwise the performances are instrumentals. Although Stewart plays in his usual fiery mainstream swing style, some of the arrangements are a bit boppish and do not work that well, plus the recording quality is decent but not great. The overall results are not without their strong moments but are a little uncomfortable and not too essential. However, it is nice to have this formerly scattered music put out in coherent order.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:48
2 2:53
3 2:45
4 2:33
5 3:40
6 2:47
7 2:28
8 3:02
9 2:36
10 3:15
11 4:22
12 3:56
13 3:56
14 4:29
15 4:21
16 4:01
17 2:50
18 2:56
19 3:01
20 2:30
21 2:52
22 2:33
blue highlight denotes track pick