Wingy Manone in Toronto 1976

‘Wingy’ was a successful 1-handed trumpet player.

In 1976 our Climax Jazzband got its big break. We were hired away from Albert’s Hall on Bloor Street West, a smokey pub in the University area to go big time. In the brand new hydro building the owners of DJ’s tavern, a posh 330 seat restaurant-stand up bar with ample dance floor and a 3 foot high stage, wanted to open with a jazz policy. We appeared to be the most popular jazz band in town and were contracted to play 6 nights a week and have internationally renowned jazz musicians to be our featured guests. Can you imagine that we had a chance to play with all these famous jazz men? I’ll try to remember a few. Trumpet players Wingy Manone, Jimmy McPartland, Doc Cheatham, Joe Thomas, Max Kaminsky. Clarinet players Kenny Davern, Joe Muriani, Henry Cuesta, Herb Hall, Trombonists Vic Dickenson, Benny Morton Pianist Don Ewell Singers Carol Leigh, Pug Horton, Babe Matthews and some more. Full bands together with us like Worlds Greatest Jazz Band, Soprano Summit, Dutch Swing College Band, George Melly and his Feetwarmers. I’m certain I have forgotton quite a few. It was an enormous learning experience. The unfortunate part was that I usually had to drive these artists to their hotel after the gig and then they wanted to socialize and tell their (hi)stories, but that was at 1.30 am.. Now I regret it, but I had to refuse because my regular dayjob would demand I was in the office at 8.30. We opened with Wingy Manone. He was quite a character. At 76 he still had a lot of sparks and a great sense of humour which reflected in his announcements and also in the interplay between him and us in the band. Jack Teagarden scholar Joe Showler produced a movie of Wingy with our band. One night he came in with a few camera men and the result is shown herewith. Too bad that Wingy would just start playing and many of the tunes are kind of dragging. But you can’t complain if you are part of history in the making.


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