CORNET MASTERS: GEORGE FINOLA, DOC EVANS, REX STEWART

Cornet

Although I never was drawn to cigarette smoking, I remember personalized matchbooks with fondness — whether they encouraged you to sign up for correspondence courses or to revisit a restaurant or night club.  They were portable advertising before Facebook, business cards that had more than one use.  Here are two jazz-related ones, courtesy of eBay, that house of surprises.

One celebrates a New Orleans gig and a much-missed cornet player, a man of great lyricism, who made his debut recording in the company of Armand Hug, Raymond Burke, Danny Barker, which should tell you something about the esteem in which he was held — the late GEORGE FINOLA:

GEORGE FINOLA on CORNET matchbook

Here’s George, late in his short career, in a very Hackett mood for CABIN IN THE SKY:

Then, we venture, somewhat whimsically, into politics:

DOC EVANS FOR PRESIDENT

and an encouraging bit of wordplay on the reverse.  Was Doc Evans in competition with Dizzy Gillespie or well in advance of the front-runners?

DOC EVANS FOR PRESIDENT rear

This is why Paul “Doc” Evans deserves your vote — a brief clip of Doc, Art Hodes, and Bob Cousins burning through WOLVERINE BLUES in 1969 (from the public television series JAZZ ALLEY):

Most people don’t think of Rex Stewart as a cornetist, but it’s clear — in the film footage that we have of him — that it was his preferred brass instrument.  What a pleasure to find this piece of sheet music on sale:

BOY MEETS HORN

and the back is indeed priceless.  I want all those orchestrations!

BOY MEETS HORN backFifty cents each, too.

And here’s Rex (although not visible), performing BOY MEETS HORN, the fanciful enactment of what a young player’s first halting steps might sound like.  From the 1943 Carnegie Hall concert, announced by Ellington:

and in France, 1947:

The cornet is a demanding instrument — but it takes even more ingenuity (and pressing valves only half-way down) to make those glorious eccentric sounds as Rex does.

May your happiness increase!

About these ads

3 responses to “CORNET MASTERS: GEORGE FINOLA, DOC EVANS, REX STEWART

  1. Sordoni III, Andrew

    Many thanks for these gems which show how deeply jazz was once connected to American Popular Culture. It was my good fortune to have talked to Rex Stewart, recorded Eddie Barefield for Chiaroscuro (as part of Hank O’Neal’s tribute to Milt Hinton) and commissioned Leo Meiersdorff. Andrew Sordoni

    Sent from my iPad

  2. Laurie Whitlock

    I am so happy for this post not only for the new information it affords a sluggard like me, but because I love -repeat love, the watercolor on the George Finola matchbook…. R U having fun in Whitley?

    Date: Tue, 19 Nov 2013 15:39:58 +0000 To: laurie.hug4jazz@hotmail.com

  3. Home from Whitley about two weeks — now writing this from Novato! — and it was great fun. The artist you rightly admire is Leo Meiersdorff, who did many covers for Chiaroscuro Records. He’s indeed a treasure. Sending love!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s