I’ve just had an email from a chap called David in Leeds telling me the first swing record he heard was Jumpy Nerves by Wingy Manone, after I had a listen it got me to thinking. Many will know Manone was an American jazz trumpeter, composer and bandleader. He was actually born Joseph but after losing an arm in a tram accident acquired the nickname Wingy – aren’t people kind. For years Joe Venuti jazz violinist and notorious practical joker used to send his mate a single cufflink for his birthday.
I digress, so in 1930 Wingy recorded his own riff based composition Tar Paper Stomp aka Wingy’s Stomp or sometimes called Wingy’s Blues also, as I have now learned, he recorded a version in 1939 called ‘Jumpy Nerves’. You hear the same riff (catchy bit of tune) a year later in Fletcher Henderson’s Hot and Anxious credited to Henderson’s brother Horace.
Stay with me, in 1935 saxophonist and arranger for The Mills Blue Rhythm Band Joe Garland created an arrangement of ‘Tar Paper Stomp’ and called it ‘There’s Rhythm In Harlem’. Some time later circa 1938 he wrote In ‘The Mood’ containing that same infectious arpeggio riff Wingy Manone had recorded just five years earlier, Joe hawked it round the various bands, both Artie Shaw and Edgar Hayes recorded it with little success in fact it wasn’t till Garland pushed it under the beady eye of Glenn Miller that it took off. Miller hired Andy Razaf to add words he did so recycling an old lyric but unwittingly for a flat fee of $200 he never earned a penny more.
Miller made a few tweaks and hit the jackpot in 1940 when it topped the Billboard Juke Box chart and stayed at number one for 13 weeks featuring in the movie Sun Valley Serenade. Some 60 years later in 1999 ‘In The Mood’ was included in the National Public Radio’s 100 most important American musical works of the 20th century.
It’s Wingy I feel sorry for, according to copyright rules of that time, “a tune that had not been written down and registered with the copyright office could be appropriated by any musician with a good ear.” I read that after ‘In The Mood’ became a massive hit, Manone was paid by RCA and Miller not to contest the copyright possibly putting Wingy in the slighty better mood… but still.