All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

129

Pee Wee Russell: Ask Me Now!

Joel Roberts By

Sign in to view read count
Who says you can't teach an old dog—or an old clarinetist—new tricks? Approaching his 60th birthday in the early '60s, Pee Wee Russell, long associated with Dixieland and traditional jazz, formed a new pianoless quartet with trombonist Marshall Brown and started exploring the more modern sounds of Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, and even Ornette Coleman.

The finest fruit of that collaboration was Ask Me Now!, an exceptional 1963 session for Impulse! that seamlessly mixes the old with the new, and certainly makes the case for Russell as a progressive—and the bigger case that great artists can often transcend genres and stereotypes.

Russell is at his best on ballads, including two by Monk (the title tune and "Hackensack"), for whom he shows a real affinity. On Ellington's "Prelude to a Kiss," Russell's lyricism and wonderfully expressive, sometimes breathy tone evoke a clarinet version of Johnny Hodges or even Ben Webster. He also tackles an up-tempo Coltrane blues and, most impressively, takes on Ornette Coleman's "Turnaround," which he harmonizes and renders as a fairly straight-ahead blues romp.

Marshall Brown, Russell's chief compadre and an inspiration in the leader's modernist move, is showcased on the gorgeous chestnut "Angel Eyes." The mood throughout is relaxed, patient, even languorous, as Russell, the veteran who'd jammed as a kid with Bix Beiderbecke and spent 30 years with Eddie Condon, shows himself undaunted by the '60s radicals. A brave and bravura performance.

.


Track Listing: 1. Turnaround - 4:14 2. How About Me? - 4:16 3. Ask Me Now! - 2:30 4. Some Other Blues - 3:16 5. I'd Climb the Highest Mountain - 3:26 6. Licorice Stick - 3:36 7. Prelude to a Kiss - 2:41 8. Baby, You Can Count on Me - 5:01 9. Hackensack - 3:37 10. Angel Eyes - 2:51 11. Calypso Walk - 2:34

Personnel: Pee Wee Russell - Clarinet, Ronnie Bedford - Drums, Marshall Brown - Valve Trombone, Bass Trumpet; Russell George - Bass.

Title: Ask Me Now! | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Impulse!

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Northern Migrations CD/LP/Track Review
Northern Migrations
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Egregore CD/LP/Track Review
Egregore
by John Eyles
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Lifelike CD/LP/Track Review
Lifelike
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Whatever Possessed Me CD/LP/Track Review
Whatever Possessed Me
by Don Phipps
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Live At The Fillmore East 1968 CD/LP/Track Review
Live At The Fillmore East 1968
by Doug Collette
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review
Live
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 21, 2018
Read "Territoires" CD/LP/Track Review Territoires
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 26, 2017
Read "Music For David Mossman / Live At Vortex London" CD/LP/Track Review Music For David Mossman / Live At Vortex London
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 7, 2018
Read "Blue Fantasia" CD/LP/Track Review Blue Fantasia
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 25, 2017
Read "Liberation Narratives" CD/LP/Track Review Liberation Narratives
by Mark Corroto
Published: October 31, 2017
Read "Outside The Comfort Zone" CD/LP/Track Review Outside The Comfort Zone
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 24, 2017
Read "Christmas" CD/LP/Track Review Christmas
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 30, 2017