Wingy Manone and Louis Prima were both Italian Americans who grew up in New Orleans. They both played trumpet and cornet, sang in a raspy voice in the middle of their songs, made their recording debuts at the age of 24, and were greatly influenced by Louis Armstrong. But Louis Prima is the more famous of the two, so Wingy must have been trying to copy Louis, right? Well
The problem with that theory: Louis was born in 1910. Wingy was born in 1900.
So was it really Louis imitating Wingy? Not necessarily. The two horn players both took their similar (and enviable) musical upbringings and parlayed them into lifelong, highly respectable careers. Wingy gets points, though, for overcoming adversity. A streetcar accident took his right arm when Manone (or Mannone, at that point in his life) was only 10 years old. He’d been playing cornet for a few years, but still managed to re-learn the instrument with his left hand, using his prosthetic right hand to hold the instrument. From the cheap seats, no one could see the difference. You certainly couldn’t hear it.
Here’s Wingy playing with the Arcadian Serenaders in 1924.