Cootie Williams and Rex Stewart – The Big Challenge

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The Big Challenge is an album by trumpeter Cootie Williams and cornetist Rex Stewart that was recorded in 1957 and released on the Jazztone label.

“This CD reissue from the Spanish Fresh Sound label brings back a fun and unusual Jazztone session. Six distinctive and very different veterans were teamed together: trumpeter Cootie Williams, cornetist Rex Stewart, trombonists Lawrence Brown and J.C. Higginbotham, and the tenors of Coleman Hawkins and Bud Freeman. With pianist Hank Jones, guitarist Billy Bauer, bassist Milt Hinton, and drummer Gus Johnson providing solid backup and Ernie Wilkins sketching out some arrangements, the unique matchups are very successful. Each of the musicians has an opportunity to be featured and the tradeoffs are quite memorable. A colorful gem.” – Scott Yanow/AllMusic.



Track listing:
“I’m Beginning to See the Light” (Duke Ellington, Don George, Johnny Hodges, Harry James) – 6:06
“Do Nothing Till You Hear from Me” (Ellington, Bob Russell) – 4:07
“Alphone and Gaston” (Ernie Wilkins) – 8:29
“I Got a Right to Sing the Blues” (Harold Arlen, Ted Koehler) – 4:09
“Walkin’ My Baby Back Home” (Fred E. Ahlert, Roy Turk) – 4:42
“When Your Lover Has Gone” (Einar Aaron Swan) – 5:08
“I Knew You When” (Rex Stewart) – 4:42

Recorded at Webster Hall in NYC on April 30 (tracks 1-3) and May 6 (tracks 4-7), 1957

Cootie Williams – trumpet
Rex Stewart – cornet
Lawrence Brown, J. C. Higginbotham – trombone
Bud Freeman, Coleman Hawkins – tenor saxophone
Billy Bauer – guitar
Hank Jones – piano
Milt Hinton – double bass
Gus Johnson – drums
Ernie Wilkins – arranger


Released: 1957
Recorded: April 30 and May 7, 1957
Studio: Webster Hall, New York City, NY
Length: 37:23
Label: Jazztone
J 1268
Producer: George T. Simon