Rex Stewart

1947-1948

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AllMusic Review by

Here is a delightful visit from Rex Stewart's All Star European Tour Band, the way they sounded in Paris during December of 1947 and January 1948. If you ever need or want a perfect taste of what trombonist Sandy Williams could do with a ballad, "I Cried for You" might be the best example on record anywhere. The surprise star soloist in this package, though, is tenor saxophonist Vernon Story. His own composition "Storyville" is a brisk example of what many folks at the time would have called rebop. Story also blows up a storm on "Cherokee," "Stardust," "Goofin' Off," and (of course) "Vernon's Story." Whatever happened to this guy? He seems to have fallen out of circulation fairly soon after these recordings were made. As for Rex Stewart, this bag of tunes is characteristically varied, from a very hip, Coleman Hawkins-inspired handling of "Stompin' at the Savoy" through a solidly old-fashioned "Muskrat Ramble" to a brief visit from Django Reinhardt on "Night and Day" and "Confessin'." While the hot and humorous numbers are entertaining, there's nothing quite so satisfying as Rex Stewart's subtleties on ballads and blues. Glowing examples here include Duke Ellington's "I Didn't Know About You," the ethereal "Swamp Mist," and the blues sketches "Sacknasty," "Last Blues," and especially "Jug Blues," a slow drag with an almost cowpoke bassline ambling along behind Stewart's muttering cornet.

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