In the 21st century, jazz has a serious image problem. Many of the century's rock, R&B, blues, and country musicians think of jazz as stuffy music that only appeals to intellectuals in Sweden; you will seldom hear them describe jazz as fun or entertaining, and sadly, bop snobs only make matters worse with their elitist attitudes. But Rex Stewart and Wingy Manone came out of a time when jazz was not considered stuffy; in fact, fun and entertaining are words that describe this swing-oriented collection. Assembled by Fantasy in 1992, Trumpet Jive! spans 1944-1960 and turns the spotlight on either trumpeter/singer Manone or cornetist/singer Stewart. The original Trumpet Jive! LP of the early '70s contained 12 songs and focused on three '40s sessions: a Stewart session from 1945 and Manone sessions from 1944 and 1945. But in 1992, Trumpet Jive! became a 71-minute, 22-song CD when Fantasy added the contents of Stewart's 1960 Prestige/Swingville session The Happy Jazz of Rex Stewart. What do these sessions have in common? For one thing, a strong sense of fun. Stewart and Manone were both extroverted, fun-loving improvisers, and their horn solos are as good-spirited as their vocals. When they sing, both of them are influenced by Louis Armstrong and Fats Waller and embrace a humorous vocal style called jive -- arguably, jive was to '30s and '40s jazz what the quirky, goofy lyrics of George Clinton and Bootsy Collins were to '70s funk. On Trumpet Jive!, Stewart and Manone not only offer impressive virtuosity, they also offer fun, entertaining party music. Anyone who thinks that all jazz is stuffy needs to give this CD a very close listen.
Trumpet Jive! [CD] Review
by Alex Henderson