Portrait of Rex Stewart, Part I (Podcast #20-001)

Rex Stewart played cornet in the Ellington and from 1934-45. Part I of a look at Stewart’s work with the band. Continue reading

“…[H]e was an exciting player who made a big contribution during the years he was with us –  1934-45. He was extremely versatile and we made use of his virtuosity on “Trumpet in Spades” and “Boy Meets Horn.” His half-valved effects on the latter have never been forgotten, but he should not be judged only by demonstrations of that kind.”

– Duke Ellington, Music Is My Mistress



Boy meets horn

Boy Meets Horn, the autobiography of Rex Stewart




Morning Glory 1Morning Glory 2

This transcription of Rex Stewart’s cornet solo on Morning Glory is from “Cootie Williams, Rex Stewart, and Ray Nance: Duke Ellington’s trumpet soloists 1940-1942”
by Bryan Wendell Bennet



The recordings heard on this podcast episode:



Fletcher Henderson

The Stampede (CD: “The Fletcher Henderson Story: A Study In Frustration” Essential Jazz Classics ‎– EJC55511)

Rec 14 May 1926,

Russell Smith, Joe Smith, Rex Stewart – trumpet; Benny Morton – trombone; Don Redman, Buster Bailey, Coleman Hawkins – reeds, Fletcher Henderson – piano; Charlie Dixon – banjo; Ralph Escudero – tuba; Kaiser Marshall – drums.


 

elling_duke_complete1_101b

(CD: “The Complete 1933-1940 Brunswick, Columbia and Master Recordings of Duke Ellington and his Famous Orchestra” Mosaic Records #248)

Trumpet In Spades

Recorded 17 July 1936, New York City

Arthur Whetsel, Cootie Williams, Rex Stewart – trumpet; Lawrence Brown, Joe Nanton, Juan Tizol – trombone; Barney Bigard, Johnny Hodges, Pete Clark, Harry Carney – reeds; Duke Ellington – piano; Fred Guy – guitar; Hayes Alvis – bass; Sonny Greer – drums.

Boy Meets Horn 

Recorded 2 September 1938, New York City

Wallace Jones, Cootie Williams, Rex Stewart – trumpet; Lawrence Brown, Joe Nanton, Juan Tizol – trombone; Barney Bigard, Johnny Hodges, Otto Hardwicke, Harry Carney – reeds; Duke Ellington – piano; Fred Guy – guitar; Billy Taylor – bass; Sonny Greer – drums.



small groupsSugar Hill Shim-Sham/Tea And Trumpets
(CD: ”The Complete 1936-1940 Variety, Vocalion and Okeh Small Group Sessions” Mosaic Records #235)

Recorded 7 July 1937, New York City

Rex Stewart, Freddie Jenkins – trumpet; Johnny Hodges – alto sax; Harry Carney – baritone sax; Duke Ellington – piano; Brick Fleagle – guitar; Hayes Alvis – bass; Jack Maisel – drums.


centennial editionFat Stuff Serenade (CD: “Duke Ellington, The Centennial Edition” RCA Victor ‎– 09026-63386-2)

Recorded 20 March 1939

Rex Stewart, Louis Bacon – trumpet; Joe Nanton – trombone; Barney Bigard – clarinet; Duke Ellington – piano; Billy Taylor – bass; Sonny Greer = drums.


djangoLow Cotton/Montmartre/Finesse (CD: “Djangologie/USA, Volumes 5-6” Disques Swing ‎– CDSW 8424/6)

Recorded

Rex Stewart – cornet; Barney Bigard – clarinet; Django Reinhardt – guitar; Billy Taylor – bass.


duke 100Tootin’ Through The Roof (CD: “Duke Ellington: The Columbia Years 1927-1962” Columbia 5176872)

Recorded 14 October 1939, Chicago

Wallace Jones, Cootie Williams, Rex Stewart – trumpet; Lawrence Brown, Joe Nanton, Juan Tizol – trombone; Barney Bigard, Johnny Hodges, Otto Hardwicke, Harry Carney – reeds; Duke Ellington – piano; Fred Guy – guitar; Billy Taylor – bass; Sonny Greer – drums.


highlightsMorning Glory (CD: “Highlights of the Great 1940-1942” Avid EMSC1143)

Recorded 6 March 1940, Chicago

Wallace Jones, Cootie Williams, Rex Stewart – trumpet; Lawrence Brown, Joe Nanton, Juan Tizol – trombone; Barney Bigard, Johnny Hodges, Otto Hardwicke, Ben Webster, Harry Carney – reeds; Duke Ellington – piano; Fred Guy – guitar; Jimmie Blanton – bass; Sonny Greer – drums.;

Dusk (CD: “Highlights of the Great 1940-1942” Avid EMSC1143)

Recorded 28 May 1940, Chicago

Wallace Jones, Cootie Williams, Rex Stewart – trumpet; Lawrence Brown, Joe Nanton, Juan Tizol – trombone; Barney Bigard, Johnny Hodges, Otto Hardwicke, Ben Webster, Harry Carney – reeds; Duke Ellington – piano; Fred Guy – guitar; Jimmie Blanton – bass; Sonny Greer – drums.


centennial edition

Without A Song  (CD: “Duke Ellington, The Centennial Edition” RCA Victor ‎– 09026-63386-2)

Recorded 2 November 1940, Chicago

Rex Stewart – cornet; Lawrence Brown – trombone; Ben Webster- tenor sax; Harry Carney – baritone sax; Duke Ellington – piano; Jimmie Blanton – bass; Sonny Greer – drums.


circle vol 1Boy Meets Horn (CD: “World Broadcasting Series, Volume 1” Circle ‎ CCD-101)

Recorded 8 November 1943, New York City

Wallace Jones, Rex Stewart, Dizzy Gillespie,Taft Jordan – trumpet; Lawrence Brown, Joe Nanton, Juan Tizol – trombone; Jimmy Hamilton, Johnny Hodges, Otto Hardwicke, Skippy Williams, Harry Carney – reeds; Duke Ellington – piano; Fred Guy – guitar; Wilson Myers – bass; Sonny Greer – drums.


world volume 3

Harlem Airshaft (CD: “World Broadcasting Series, Volume 3” Circle ‎ CCD-103)

Recorded 1 December 1943, New York City

Wallace Jones, Rex Stewart, Taft Jordan, Ray Nance, Harold Baker – trumpet; Lawrence Brown, Joe Nanton, Juan Tizol – trombone; Jimmy Hamilton, Johnny Hodges, Otto Hardwicke, Skippy Williams, Harry Carney – reeds; Duke Ellington – piano; Fred Guy – guitar; Junior Raglin – bass; Sonny Greer – drums.


— Our closing music —-

0000120517It’s Something You Ought To Know (Paul Gonsalves – “Ellingtonia Moods and Blues,” RCA Victor / RCA63562)

Recorded 29 February 1960, New York City

Paul Gonsalves- tenor sax; Johnny Hodges – alto sax; Ray Nance – cornet; Mitchell “Booty” Wood – trombone; Jimmy Jones – piano; Al Hall – bass; Oliver Jackson – drums.

 

Portrait of Ben Webster, Pt. II (Podcast #18-003)

A look at the music of Ben Webster after his tenure with the Duke Ellington Orchestra. Continue reading

“He was considered the supreme ballad master. As great as Prez, Hawk and Byas were, they all had to take a back seat to Ben on ballads. Ben almost had a monopoly on the pretty ones. His breathy, whispy [sic] style, coupled with a most distinct tone enabled him to get an effect of a violin sound in his upper register playing. And when he would manipulate down to the lower register, he would nearly blow you out of your mind.”

-Bernard Montgomery



ben webster late




Alum

 Jet Magazine, 24 July 1958


BW website

Screenshot from The Official Ben Webster website





websterbenjamim

 Ben Webster’s ashes are buried at Assistens Cemetery in Copenhagen


The recordings heard on this podcast episode:



atmosphere

Blue Light (LP: “Atmosphere for Lovers and Thieves” Black Lion Records 65117)

Recorded September 1965, Copenhagen

Ben Webster, Ole Kongsted – tenor sax; Arnved Meyer – trumpet; John Darville – trombone; Niels Jorgen Steen – piano; Henrik Hartmann – bass; Hans Nymand – drums.


bw with strings

What Am I Here For? (CD: “Music for Loving” Verve 314 527 774-2)

Recorded 9 September 1955, New York City

Ben Webster – tenor sax; Al Epstein, Danny Bank – reeds; Harold Colletta, Martin Donegan, Leo Kruczek, Harry Lookofsky, Eugene Orloff, Tosha Samaroff, Paul Winter – violin; Burt Fisch – viola; Abram Boradkin, George Ricci, Lucien Schmitt – cello; Hank Jones – piano; Chet Amsterdam, Wendell Marshall – bass; Osie Johnson – drums; Ralph Burns – arranger, conductor.

My Funny Valentine

Recorded 30 March 1954, New York City

Ben Webster – tenor sax; Teddy Wilson – piano; Ray Brown – bass; Jo Jones – drums.


BW emarcy

Pouting/The Iron Hat (CD: “The Complete Ben Webster on EmArcy” EmArcy 824 836-2(1))

Recorded 23 January 1953, New York City

Don Elliot – trumpet, mellophone; Eddie Bert – trombone; Sam Rubinowitch – alto sax, piccolo; Ben Webster – tenor sax; Sidney Brown – baritone sax; Billy Taylor – piano; Milt Hinton – bass; Jo Jones – drums; Johnny Richards – arranger.


 

See_You_at_the_Fair

In a Mellow Tone / The Single Petal of a Rose (CD: “See You At The Fair” Impulse! GRD-121)

Recorded 11 March 1964, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey

Ben Webster – tenor sax; Hank Jones – piano; Richard Davis – bass; Osie Johnson -drums.


Ben-Webster-Meets-Don-Byas-cover

Caravan (CD: “Ben Webster meets Don Byas” Verve 827920-2)

Recorded 1/2 February 1968, Villingen, Black Forest, Germany

Ben Webster, Don Byas – tenor sax; Tete Montoliu – piano; Peter Trunk – bass; Albert “Tootie” Heath – drums.


ben and bean

It Never Entered My Mind (CD: “Coleman Hawkins encounters Ben Webster” Verve 9884036)

Recorded 16 October 1957, Los Angeles

Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins – tenor sax; Oscar Peterson – piano; Herb Ellis – guitar; Ray Brown – bass; Alvin Stoller – drums.


side by side

Just A Memory (CD: “Johnny Hodges and Duke Ellington – Side by Side” PolyGram
5214052)

Recorded 14 August 1958, New York City

Johnny Hodges – alto saxophone; Roy Eldridge – trumpet; Lawrence Brown – trombone; Ben Webster – tenor saxophone; Billy Strayhorn – piano; Wendell Marshall – bass; Jo Jones – drums.


king of the tenors

That’s All (CD: “King of the Tenors” Verve 314 519 806-2)

Recorded 8 December 1953, Los Angeles

Ben Webster – tenor sax; Harry “Sweets” Edison – trumpet; Benny Carter – alto sax; Oscar Peterson – piano; Herb Ellis – guitar; Ray Brown – bass; Alvin Stoller – drums.


ben and art tatum

Gone with the Wind (CD: “The Tatum Group Masterpieces” Pablo J33J 20034)

Recorded 11 September 1956, Los Angeles

Ben Webster – tenor sax; Art Tatum – piano; Red Callender – bass; Bill Douglass – drums.


slim gaillard

Potato Chips (CD: Slim Gaillard, “Laughing in Rhythm: The Best of the Verve Years” Verve 314 521 651-2)

Recorded 1952, New York City

Slim Gaillard – vocal; Ben Webster – tenor sax; others unknown.


newport

C Jam Blues/Chelsea Bridge (LP: Various Artists, “Newport Jazz Festival Live (Unreleased Highlights from 1956, 1958, 1963”) Columbia C2 38262)

Recorded 4 July 1958 live at The Newport Jazz Festival

Cootie Williams – trumpet; Rex Stewart – cornet; Tyree Glenn – trombone; Hilton Jefferson – alto sax; Ben Webster – tenor sax; Billy Strayhorn – piano; Oscar Pettiford – bass; Sonny Greer – drums.


ella and duke

All Too Soon (CD: “Ella & Duke at The Cote D’Azur” PolyGram 539030)
Recorded 29 July 1966, Juan-les-Pins, France

Ray Nance – trumpet, violin; Ben Webster – tenor sax; Cat Anderson, Herbie Jones, Mercer Ellington – trumpet; Lawrence Brown, Buster Cooper, Chuck Connors – trombone; Jimmy Hamilton, Russell Procope, Johnny Hodges, Paul Gonsalves, Harry Carney – reeds; Duke Ellington – piano; John Lamb – bass; Sam Woodyard – drums.

 

When Cootie Left the Duke, Pt. III (Podcast #17-011)

Cootie disbanded his big band in 1947. This episode covers the period of 1947 up until 1962, the year Cootie rejoined Ellington.
Continue reading

“…Benny Goodman, just back from Russia, persuaded [Cootie] Williams and Teddy Wilson to rejoin him. It was an amusing stint [Williams] recalled. “Sometimes Goodman would let you play,” he explained, “and other times he wouldn’t. He has his ways, as everyone knows. At Freedomland one night there was no bass player – he’d forgotten he’d fired him the evening before. Benny, though, is a great musician,” he laughed, “but I’d already been talking with Harry Carney. ‘Tell Duke,” I’d said, ‘that I’m ready to come back.'”

-from The World of Duke Ellington, by Stanley Dance


 

CW orch size

…and Cootie never led a big band again….


j46-dinah-washington-large-300x300 (1)

heritage-auctions-posters-dinah-washington

Tour package posters featuring Cootie Williams and Dinah Washington


 

cootie and catherine

Cootie and his wife Catherine in Jet Magazine, issue dated 3 February 1955 


South

An illustration of Cootie’s appeal



The recordings heard on this podcast episode:



Dinah Washington

Resolution Blues ( CD: “Dinah Washington – The Queen Sings” Proper Records PROPERBOX 43)

Recorded 16 July 1947, New York City

Dinah Washington – vocal; Cootie Williams, Bob Merrill – trumpet; Rupert Cole – alto sax; William “Weasel” Parker – tenor sax; Arnold Jarvis, James Lowe – piano; Leonard “Heavy” Swain – bass; Sylvester Payne – drums.


CW Classics 1946-1949

(CD: “Cootie Williams and his Orchestra 1946-1949” Classics 1105)

Let ‘Em Roll Recorded 2 March 1949, New York City

Cootie Williams – trumpet; Bob Merrill – trumpet, vocal; Rupert Cole – alto sax; Willis Jackson – tenor sax; Lester Fauntleroy – piano; Leonard “Heavy” Swain – bass; Gus Johnson – drums.

You Gotta Pay Those Dues Recorded 20 September 1949, New York City

Cootie Williams – trumpet; Bob Merrill(?) – trumpet; Rupert Cole(?) – alto sax; Willis Jackson – tenor sax; Lester Fauntleroy(?) – piano; Leonard “Heavy” Swain(?) – bass; Gus Johnson(?) – drums; Eddie Mack – vocal.

(NOTE: In the podcast, it was erroneously stated that these two recordings dated from 1947.)


CW in hifi

Boomerang (CD: “Cootie Williams in Hi-Fi” RCA 63561-2)

Recorded 10 July 1957, New York City

Cootie Williams – trumpet; George Berg, Rupert Cole, George Clark, Elwyn Fraser – saxophones; Skeeter Best, Larry Dale – guitar; Abe Baker – bass; Dave Martin – piano; Lester Jenkins – drums; Leroy Glover – organ.


porgy

Bess, You is my woman now (LP: “Porgy & Bess Revisited” Disques Swing SW-8414)

Recorded late 1958, New York City

Cootie Williams (“Porgy”) – trumpet; Rex Stewart (“Sportin’ Life”) – cornet; Lawrence Brown (“Serena” and “Clara”) – trombone; Hilton Jefferson (“Bess”) – alto sax; Pinky Williams (“Jake”) – baritone sax; Bernie Glow, Joe Wilder, Ernie Royal, Al Derisi – trumpet; Urbie Green, Eddie Bert, Sonny Russo – trombone; Sid Cooper, Walt Levinsky, Al Klink, Boomie Richman – reeds; Buddy Weed – piano; Barry Galbraith – guitar; Milt Hinton – bass; Don Lamond – drums; plus string section.


CW in hifi

Just In Time (CD: “Cootie Williams in Hi-Fi” RCA 63561-2)

Recorded March/April 1958 New York City

Cootie Williams – trumpet; Billy Byers, Bobby Byrne, Lou McGarity – trombone; Dick Hixon – bass trombone; Phil Bodner, Elwyn Fraser, Nick Caiazza, Romeo Penque, Boomie Richman – saxophones; Hank Jones – piano; Tony Mottola – guitar; Eddie Safranski – bass; Don Lamond – drums.


Big Challenge

I Got A Right To Sing The Blues/Alphonse and Gaston (LP: “Cootie and Rex – The Big Challenge” Hall of Fame Jazz Greats JG-602)

Recorded 30 April 1957, New York City

Cootie Williams – trumpet; Rex Stewart – cornet; Lawrence Brown, J.C. Higginbotham – trombone; Coleman Hawkins, Bud Freeman – tenor sax; Hank Jones – piano; Billy Bauer – guitar; Milt Hinton – bass; Gus Johnson – drums.

Horn solo order on Alphonse and Gaston – Lawrence Brown/J.C. Higginbotham (4 times); Coleman Hawkins/Bud Freeman (4 times) Cootie Williams/Rex Stewart (1st and 2nd time – plungers; 3rd time – half valve; 4th time – open)


bessie smith

Gin House Blues (LP: Ronnie Gilbert, “The Legend of Bessie Smith” RCA LPM-1591)

Recorded 8-9 August 1957 New York City

Ronnie Gilbert – vocal; Cootie Williams – trumpet; Benny Morton – trombone; Buster Bailey – clarinet; Claude Hopkins – piano; Steve Jordan or George Barnes or Fred Hellerman – guitar; George Duvivier – bass; Osie Johnson – drums.


Do Nothin

I Got It Bad (and That Ain’t Good)/It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing (CD: “Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me” Collectables COLCD 6121)

Recorded 1959

Cootie Williams – trumpet; other musicians uncredited.


private collection volume 3

September 12th Blues (CD: “The Private Collection, Volume 3: Studio Sessions, New York 1962 Saja 91043-2)

Recorded 12 September 1962, New York City

Cootie Williams, Bill Berry, Roy Burrowes, Cat Anderson, Ray Nance – trumpet; Lawrence Brown, Buster Cooper, Chuck Connors – trombone; Jimmy Hamilton, Russell Procope, Johnny Hodges, Paul Gonsalves, Harry Carney – reeds; Duke Ellington – piano; Aaron Bell – bass; Sam Woodyard – drums.


0000120517



It’s Something You Ought To Know
 (Paul Gonsalves – “Ellingtonia Moods and Blues,” RCA Victor / RCA63562)

Recorded 29 February 1960, New York City

Paul Gonsalves- tenor sax; Johnny Hodges – alto sax; Ray Nance – cornet; Mitchell “Booty” Wood – trombone; Jimmy Jones – piano; Al Hall – bass; Oliver Jackson – drums.