Pee Wee Russell was an early pioneer, a Dixieland veteran, and an inspired clarinetist with an unusual voice. No less than Gene Krupa once said that he had "the most fabulous musical mind... I've never run into anybody who had that much musical talent.
During the fifties, long after his style of music had fallen out of favor, he stayed at the top of his game by absorbing the new styles that had come along, recording Coleman tunes with a piano-less quartet for Impulse! and gigging with Thelonious Monk. However, Portrait of Pee Wee, a compilation of recordings from that decade, finds the clarinetist in the company of some of his peers playing the early swing music that they know so well, still with the same fire and verve that made them special in the first place. Fans will be delighted to find Ruby Braff, Bud Freeman, Vic Dickenson and Nat Pierce still at the top of their game, playing solos that are both hot and gentlemanly at the same time.
This isn't music that will quicken the pulse, but it mixes the New Orleans aesthetic with the grace of the ballroom floor on well known tunes like "Out Of Nowhere and "That Old Feeling. It's great to see these terrific musicians at the top of their game, but it's even better that someone was around to record them when this style of music was no longer fashionable.
Track Listing: That Old Feeling; World On A String; Exactly Like You; It All Depends On You; If I Had You;
Out Of Nowhere; Pee Wee Blues; I Used To Love You; Oh No!
I was first exposed to jazz as a baby. When I was a child, my parents regularly played classic jazz, i.e., Fitzgerald, Hawkins, Holiday, Davis, Coltrane, Monk, Montgomery, Silver, etc. I vividly remember sitting in front of the stereo as a kid, rocking back and forth to jazz, so the music is embedded in me
I was first exposed to jazz as a baby. When I was a child, my parents regularly played classic jazz, i.e., Fitzgerald, Hawkins, Holiday, Davis, Coltrane, Monk, Montgomery, Silver, etc. I vividly remember sitting in front of the stereo as a kid, rocking back and forth to jazz, so the music is embedded in me. As a life-long jazz lover, I eventually became a jazz educator and producer/host of a very popular jazz radio program in Los Angeles, California.
I love jazz because it is so free. I can think, feel, and dream to jazz, and it allows my mind to flow and expand, musically and otherwise. I also love jazz because it, much like other forms of music, allows opportunities to bring people from all walks of life together. What makes jazz more significant to me, though, is its historical significance; that is, how jazz served, in part, as a method of bringing communities together, a cultural/social/spiritual conduit.