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Baden 1966 & Montreux 1971

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Album Review

There are two different sets of music on this intriguing CD. Cornetist Rex Stewart, although a bit past his playing prime by 1966, adds plenty of energy, wit and creativity to the first nine selections which he performed in Switzerland with pianist Henri Chaix's orchestra. Most of the tunes were new or obscure numbers that have plenty of atmosphere and happiness. The most consistently rewarding soloist is the Johnny Hodges-inspired altoist Roger Zufferey although both Chaix and Stewart have their spots. Rex Stewart is also showcased playing humorous tonal distortions on his feature "Conversation Piece." The final three performances, which are previously unreleased and very rewarding medleys of Fats Waller-associated tunes, are from the 1971 Montreux Jazz Festival and form the final performance by Chaix's combo, which for this date was cut back to a sextet. Swing fans will want to pick up this very interesting release.


Born: 22 February 1907 in Philadelphia, PA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s

Rex Stewart achieved his greatest glory in a subsidiary role, playing cornet 11 years in the Duke Ellington Orchestra. His famous "talking" style and half-valve effects were exploited brilliantly by countless Ellington pieces containing perfect passages tailored to showcase Stewart's sound. He played in a forceful, gripping manner that reflected the influences of Louis Armstrong, Bubber Miley, and Bix Beiderbecke, whose solos he once reproduced on record. Stewart played on Potomac riverboats before...
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