Rex Stewart in Europe (1947/1948)


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Rex Stewart. Photo: Gottlieb

In Otto Flückiger’s collection I found some nice souvenirs from Rex Stewart’s late 1947 / early 1948 european concerts. The most beautiful item is a program from the Tabaris-Bar in Lausanne (in the french speaking part of Switzerland), probably from November 1947 or from spring 1948. It has been autographed by nearly everybody in the band: Rex, trombonist Sandy Williams, tenor sax man Vernon Story whose only claim to fame is his short stint with Stewart, pianist Don Gais and drummer Ted Curry. Missing is only the bassist (if indeed there was one).

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Back of autographed program for the Rex Stewart appearance at the Tabaris-Bar in Lausanne, late 1947 or early 1948. From the Otto Flückiger Collection

As you can see from the program’s inside, Rex Stewart “et son orchestre de couleur américain” were not the evening’s only attraction:

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(Click to enlarge)

In fact the Tabaris’ management obviously thought more about Borrah Minevitch, as his picture is featured on the program’s front (Rex’s is on the back).

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The second item I found in relation to Rex Stewart’s european sojourn is another program – this time it’s (almost) only about Rex.

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(Click to enlarge) Program for a Rex Stewart appearance in Switzerland, late 1947 or early 1948. From the Otto Flückiger Collection

“Almost” because there are also piano solos by Bernard Pfeiffer mentioned. The program was printed in Lausanne, so it might well be also from the Tabaris-Bar (maybe after Minevitch went out or before he came in?).

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(Click to enlarge) Program for a Rex Stewart appearance in Switzerland, late 1947 or early 1948. From the Otto Flückiger Collection

What you can not really see on this scan is that the original owner of the program marked the pieces played that night and also added pieces that were played but not announced in the printed program. So the band played (in an unknown order of course) Georgia on My Mind, The Jeep Is Jumpin’, Boy Meets Horn, The Man I Love, The Mooche, Just Squeeze Me, Jazz Me Blues, Stompin’ At The Savoy, Body And Soul, Storyville, Honeysuckle Rose and – probably as closer – Goofin’ Off.

Of course you would like to know what that sounded like. There are no recordings from Lausanne although there are three dates from Basel (November 1947 as well as April 30 and May 5, 1948) in the standard discographies. I do not have these in my collection, instead I am offering you four tracks as recorded by Rex’s group in Paris in December 1947. First here is “The Man I Love” as recorded live at the Salle Pleyel on December 5:

And here’s the band three days later on a studio in Paris playing “Just Squeeze Me”:

From the same date comes Roy’s old feature number with Duke, “Boy Meets Horn”:

And finally here is Rex going with the times by offering “Be-bop Boogie”, which also offers a rare glimpse of tenor man Vernon Story:

Finally here is (part of) an enthusiastic though paternalistic review of one of Rex’s appearances probably from a swiss newspaper:

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(Click to enlarge) Undated review of a Rex Stewart appearance, probably Switzerland, early 1948. From the Otto Flückiger Collection

Whereas Rex had used John Harris on clarinet and alto in Paris, this review mentions alto saxophonist George Kennedy and makes a point of him being the only white guy in the band. That again points to indeed no bassist playing at least on the evening which was reviewed here.

Enjoy!

3 Responses to “Rex Stewart in Europe (1947/1948)”

  1. […] Rex Stewart. Photo: Gottlieb In Otto Flückiger's collection I found some nice souvenirs from Rex Stewart's late 1947 / early 1948 european concerts. The most beautiful item is a program from the …  […]

  2. Thanks for these wonderful scans. Back in 2012, I blogged about the Berlin recordings of that tour, here: http://ehsankhoshbakht.blogspot.com/2012/01/rex-stewart-in-berlin.html

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