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Rex Stewart with Duke Ellington's orchestra (1943)
|Birth name||Rex William Stewart|
|Born||February 22, 1907|
|Died||September 7, 1967(aged 60)|
|Associated acts||Duke Ellington|
After stints with Elmer Snowden, Fletcher Henderson, Horace Henderson, McKinney's Cotton Pickers, and Luis Russell, Stewart joined the Ellington band in 1934, replacing Freddie Jenkins. Duke Ellington arranged many of his pieces to showcase Stewart's half-valve effects, muted sound, and forceful style.
Stewart co-wrote "Boy Meets Horn" and "Morning Glory" while with Ellington, and frequently supervised outside recording sessions by members of the Ellington band. After eleven years Stewart left to lead his own groups - " little swing bands, that were a perfect setting for his solo playing." He also toured Europe and Australia with Jazz at the Philharmonic from 1947 to 1951. He made a cameo appearance in Jacques Becker's 1949 film Rendezvous in July. From the early 1950s on he worked in radio and television and published highly regarded jazz criticism. The book Jazz Masters of the Thirties is a selection of his criticism. Stewart also wrote for Playboy, Down Beat and several other publications during his life. He lived in upstate New York after purchasing a 100+ year old farmhouse. He hosted a jazz radio program in Troy, New York and owned a small restaurant for a very short time near a drag racing stadium in Vermont. While living in France, he attended the Cordon Bleu school of cooking and dedicated his life to being a fine cook.
Stewart moved to Los Angeles, California to be near his three children – Rex Jr., Helena and Regina. His other son Paul Albert Hardy lived in New York City. While in Los Angeles he re-connected to many of the Ellington side-men who lived there and played a lot of "jam" sessions in clubs in the Los Angeles area. Rex was also one of the regular studio musicians seen on the Steve Allen TV show. He hosted and coproduced (with George Cole) two radio shows about jazz music from his era, Dixieland Doings and Things Aint What They Used To Be.
- Big Jazz with Jack Teagarden (Atlantic, 1953)
- Rex Stewart Plays Duke Ellington with Illinois Jacquet (Grand Award, 1955)
- The Big Challenge with Cootie Williams (Jazztone, 1957)
- Rendezvous with Rex (Felsted, 1958)
- Henderson Homecoming (United Artists, 1959)
- Porgy & Bess Revisited with Cootie Williams (Warner Bros., 1959)
- Chatter Jazz with Dickie Wells (RCA Victor 1959)
- The Happy Jazz of Rex Stewart (Swingville, 1960)
- Rex Stewart and the Ellingtonians (Riverside, 1960)
- Rex Stewart Meets Henri Chaix (Polydor, 1966)
- The Rex Stewart Memorial Album (Prestige, 1969)
- The Irrepressible Rex Stewart with John Dengler (Jazzology, 1980)
- Rex Stewart with the Alex Welsh Band (Jazzology, 2004)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rex Stewart.|
- Alyn Shipton, speaking on BBC Radio 3's Jazz Library, February 29, 2008,, on a programme devoted to Rex Stewart, in conversation with the trumpeter Guy Barker.
- Kenny, Glenn (August 1, 2018). "Review: In 'Rendezvous in July,' Young Parisians Are on the Move". New York Times. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
- Stewart, Rex. Jazz Masters Of The 30s. Da Capo Press, 1982, ISBN 978-0-306-80159-4