Living Era presents a sensibly constructed three-part tribute to cornetist, bandleader, and author Rex Stewart. The chronology begins with two examples of his early work with Fletcher Henderson (1926-1928) and two with McKinney's Cotton Pickers (1930-1931). Part two focuses upon Stewart's formative accomplishments as a bandleader, including selections from his Orchestra (1934, 1940, and 1941); his 52nd Street Stompers (1936-1937); his Feetwarmers (a 1939 Parisian jam band with Barney Bigard and Django Reinhardt); and Rex Stewart's Big Seven, a wild bunch working for the Hot Record Society in 1940. Almost every unit Stewart ever led was partly or entirely composed of his comrades from the Duke Ellington organization, often with Ellington himself sitting in. This high-protein compilation finishes with five superb selections recorded in 1935, 1936, and 1940 by "Duke Ellington and His Famous Orchestra." Rex Stewart was a master cornetist who specialized in gnomic outbursts and quizzical convolutions. Nowhere is his style better illustrated than on the closing track, "Boy Meets Horn." A faithful and accurate portrait of a great improviser, Living Era's Rexatious ranks with the best titles in this label's entire catalog.
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AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf
feat: Big 7ven