Pee Wee Russell: Ask Me Now (1965)
However, instead of coming across like the Coleman Quartet, Russell’s group achieves a sound that shares more in common with the Mulligan/Baker collaboration, using counterpoint and harmony to create unique and novel melodies. Every tune is taken at a relaxed pace, which only serves to emphasize the precise swing of George and Bedford. Most people felt that the clarinet had no place in the direction jazz was heading, yet Russell’s wooden, earthy soloing nudges the instrument into a fresh context.
As a result we have a jazz veteran who shows a remarkable facility for navigating new tunes without sounding uncomfortable, and who as a result created one of the finest records of his career. How many artists near sixty can say the same?
Track Listing: 1. Turnaround 2. How About Me? 3. Ask Me Now 4. Some Other Blues 5. I
Personnel: Pee Wee Russell-clarinet; Marshall Brown-valve trombone, bass trumpet; Russell George-bass; Ronnie Bedford-drums.
Record Label: Impulse!