Throughout the 1940s Guarnieri was a busy sideman, recording with artists such as Charlie Christian, Cozy Cole, Ike Quebec, Charlie Kennedy, Hank D'Amico and Ben Webster. He also led his own group called the "Johnny Guarnieri Swing Men" and recorded with them on the Savoy label, a group that included Lester Young, Hank D'Amico, Billy Butterfield and Cozy Cole. He also led a trio in the 1940s composed of himself, Slam Stewart and Sammy Weiss, recording again for Savoy. During the 1940s he also recorded for the short-lived Majestic label playing solo piano and with his trio.
In 1949 Guarnieri recorded an album with June Christy titled June Christy & The Johnny Guarnieri Quintet. In his later years Guarnieri shifted more toward jazz education. In commemoration of his reputation as a teacher, Guarnieri's students financed a label for him called Taz Jazz Records. In the 1970s Guarnieri recorded numerous albums on his new label, and until 1982 worked at the "Tail of the Cock" nightclub in Studio City, California. He died onstage during a performance with Dick Sudhalter.
Exercise in Swing - Johnny Guarnieri Swing Men 1944
Johnny Guarnieri had the ability to adopt to almost any style to suit the recording occassion. In this tune he paid tribute to pianist Fats Waller who had died not long before. One of the best drummers was Cozy Cole who plays with a strong and solid drive, something each musician wishes for. Lester Young surely enjoyed playing in the Waller feeling. Unfortunately he had never made any recordings in the Waller manner.
The other two fine musicians are Hank D'Amico on clarinet and Billy Butterfield on trumpet.