Saturday, May 9, 2015

From Wollensak with Love

© Gary Carner. Copyright Protected. All rights reserved.

Below are the titles on Pepper's Rex Stewart 8-track tape. Thanks again to Atlanta bassist Neil Starkey for so ably dubbing it for me. Pepper prepared this and many other 8-tracks for his own amusement while driving around or to and from gigs. When I met Pepper in 1984 he may have still had his very old Volvo with a stick shift. I'm not sure what car he was driving with the 8-track player. As for his 8-track home recorder, here's a link to a picture of his 3M Wollensak from my Instagram site:

Wollensak ceased production in 1972. That seems to be around the time that 8-tracks faded into oblivion. As I recall, I got my first cassette player in 1969. Was I excited! It was a Panasonic: a portable combination recorder/radio.

I've been loving listening to Rex with Ellington and others! He was such an inventive player. He's best known as a growl and half-valve cornetist in the Bubber Miley tradition. But he has his own arsenal of artificial notes. He was also a high-note player of tremendous skill, and one with enormous rhythmic and melodic resourcefulness. As Andrew Homzy recently wrote, "Rex is a treasure!"

Pepper denoted those recordings with Ellington with an asterisk. I'll adopt his convention.

Bulge Breaks*
Poor Bubber
Tea & Trumpets
Morrning Glory*
Rex' Time
Solid Old Man
Trumpet in Spades*
5 O'Clock Drag*
Love in My Heart
Subtle Slough
Buglle Call Rag
Boy Meets Horn*
I Know That You Know
Harlem Air Shaft*
My Sunday Gal
What Am I Here For*
Fat Stuff Serenade
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea*
Digga Digga Doo

Pepper included live versions of Harlem Air Shaft and Boy Meets Horn (albeit at a slower tempo than what's commonly heard). The version of Subltle Slough is a masterpiece! If you want to hear an early 1940s big band groove, here it is.

                           Rex Stewart, (c) Valerie Wilmer

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