Stewart, Rex ( William )
- J. Bradford Robinson
(bPhiladelphia, Feb 22, 1907; dLos Angeles, Sept 7, 1967). American jazz cornettist. He played in minor New York groups from 1921 before becoming a cornettist in Fletcher Henderson’s band in 1926. Feeling unequal to this position, which had previously been filled by Louis Armstrong, he soon left to join Horace Henderson’s Wilberforce College group, but by 1928 he had returned to Fletcher Henderson, with whom he remained (with interruptions) until 1933, contributing many solos in a forceful, good-humoured style, indebted equally to Armstrong, Bubber Miley and Bix Beiderbecke. In 1934 Stewart joined the Duke Ellington Orchestra, beginning his most creative period. During his 11 years with the band he created a distinctive element in Ellington’s ensemble sound, particularly with his mock conversational ‘talking’ style and the novel half-valve effects which he explored from 1937 Stewart was co composer of ...
A version of this article originally appeared in Grove Music Online.