Wingy Manone isn’t well-remembered today, but he was a singular personality. There were more powerful trumpet players, more polished singers, more original comedians, but the combination of his talents added up to an energetic joy-maker.
For those who have never heard him, he sits somewhere between Louis and Fats as a swinging jester. His great heyday was the Swing Era, when he took little bands into the studio for OKeh, Brunswick, Bluebird, and smaller labels, and created jam-session recordings often based on frankly ephemeral popular songs. From this distance, some of his gaiety seems a little amateurish, reminiscent of the relative who asks to sing a slightly off-color parody with the wedding band, but Wingy always hired the best musicians so that his records always have gratifying interludes. I always looked forward to what he would do with sentimental or formulaic hits, so when this four-song “extended play” disc appeared on eBay, I bought it to share with you.
Recorded in New York, July 26, 1954, it presents Wingy with Lou McGarity, trombone; Hank D’Amico, clarinet; Charlie Queener, piano; Milt Hinton, string bass; Cliff Leeman, drums. One traditional jazz standard, one Wingy original, one current film hit, and (of course) one remake of his hit, ISLE OF CAPRI. (I wonder if this was a George Avakian experiment.) I doubt that these performances got a great deal of radio airplay, and Columbia didn’t record more music to make a full-length 10″ or 12″ record, but the music is jovial, swinging, and rare.
Wingy’s pronunciation of “coins” and his spoken interlude are both priceless.
May your happiness increase!