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Pee Wee Russell

Pee Wee Russell, although never a virtuoso, was one of the giants of jazz. A highly expressive and unpredictable clarinetist, Russell was usually grouped in Dixieland-type groups throughout his career, but his advanced and spontaneous solos (which often sounded as if he were thinking aloud) defied classification. A professional by the time he was 15, Pee Wee Russell played in Texas with Peck Kelley's group (meeting Jack Teagarden) and then in 1925 he was in St. Louis jamming with Bix Beiderbecke. Russell moved to New York in 1927 and gained some attention for his playing with Red Nichols' Five Pennies. Russell freelanced during the era, making some notable records with Billy Banks in 1932 that matched him with Red Allen. He played clarinet and tenor with Louis Prima during 1935-1937, appearing on many records and enjoying the association.

After leaving Prima, he started working with Eddie Condon's freewheeling groups and would remain in Condon's orbit on and off for the next 30 years. Pee Wee Russell's recordings with Condon in 1938 made him a star in the trad Chicago jazz world. Russell was featured (but often the butt of jokes) on Condon's Town Hall Concerts. Heavy drinking almost killed him in 1950, but Russell made an unlikely comeback and became more assertive in running his career. He started leading his own groups (which were more swing- than Dixieland-oriented), was a star on the 1957 television special The Sound of Jazz, and by the early '60s was playing in a piano-less quartet with valve trombonist Marshall Brown whose repertoire included tunes by John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman; he even sat in with Thelonious Monk at the 1963 Newport Jazz Festival and took up abstract painting. But after the death of his wife in 1967, Pee Wee Russell accelerated his drinking and went quickly downhill, passing away less than two years later. ~ Scott Yanow
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Greatest Hits

1. If I Could Be With You One Hour

2. 28th And 8th

3. All Too Soon

4. What Am I Here For?

5. Sugar

6. Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out

7. Riverside Blues

8. September In The Rain

9. That's A Plenty

10. Sweet Lorraine

11. Angry

12. The Sheik Of Araby

13. Alice Blue Gown

14. Pat's Blues

15. A Good Man Is Hard To Find (Pt. 2)

16. I Ain't Give Nobody None Of My Jelly Roll

17. Diane

18. Georgia Grind

19. The Eel

20. Love IIs Just Around The Corner

21. Nobody's Sweetheart

22. (You're Some) Pretty Doll

23. Strut Miss Lizzie

24. Oh, Sister Ain't That Hot

25. A Good Man Is Hard To Find (Pt. 1)

26. Take Me To The Land Of Jazz

27. Serenade To A Shylock

28. Rose Of Washington Square

29. D. A. Blues

30. Squeeze Me

31. Rosetta

32. Sunday

33. Jig Walk

34. Deuces Wild

35. About Face

36. Don't Leave Me Daddy

37. Wailin' D. A. Blues

38. The Last Time I Saw Chicago

39. Embraceable You

40. Keepin' Out Of Mischief Now

x

Track List: 1945-1946

1. Taboo

2. Mary Lou

3. In Blinky Winky Chinky Chinatown

4. Blue

5. Lonesome And Sorry

6. Nothing But You

7. From Another World

8. I Walk With Music

9. This Is The Beginning Of The End

10. Indiana

11. I Ain't Gonna Give Nobody None Of My Jelly Roll

12. Clarinet Marmalade

13. Mama's In The Groove

14. Fidgety Feet

15. My Honey's Loving Arms

16. Since My Best Gal Turned Me Down

17. Muskogee Blues

18. Rosie

19. Take Me Back To The Land Of Jazz

20. I'd Climb The Highest Mountain

21. Red Hot Mama

x

Track List: Jazz Original

1. Love Is Just Around The Corner

2. Embraceable You

3. Serenade To A Shylock

4. Serenade To A Shylock - alternate

5. Sunday

6. None Of My Jelly Roll

7. Georgia Grind

8. Jig Walk

9. Deuces Wild

10. The Last Time I Saw

11. About Face

12. Don't Leave Me

13. Rosetta

14. Squeeze Me

15. Take Me To The Land Of Jazz

16. Take Me To The Land Of Jazz-alternate

17. Rose Of Washington Square

18. Rose Of Washington Square-alternate

19. Keepin' Out Of Mischief Now

20. D. A. Blues

21. D. A. Blues - alternate

22. Wailin' D. A. Blues

x

Track List: Ask Me Now!

1. Turnaround

2. How About Me?

3. Ask Me Now!

4. Some Other Blues

5. I'd Climb The Highest Mountain (1965)

6. Licorice Stick

7. Prelude To A Kiss

8. Baby You Can Count On Me

9. Hackensack

10. Angel Eyes

11. Calypso Walk

x

Track List: New Groove

1. My Mother's Eyes

2. Chelsea Bridge

3. Red Planet

4. Pee Wee's Blues

5. Moten Swing

6. 'Round Midnight

7. Good Bait

8. Old Folks

9. Taps Miller

x

Track List: Swingin' With Pee Wee

x

Track List: Swing With Pee Wee (Digitally Remastered)

3. Oh No!

5. I Used To Love You

6. It All Depends On You

7. Lulu`S Back In Town

8. Pee Wee Blues

9. Out Of Nowhere

10. That Old Feeling

11. I've Got The World On A String

12. If I Had You

13. The Very Thought Of You

14. Exactly Like You

x

Track List: Portrait Of Pee Wee

1. That Old Feeling

2. World On A String

3. Exactly Like You

4. It All Depends On You

5. If I Had You

6. Out Of Nowhere

7. Pee Wee Blues

8. I Used To Love You

9. Oh No!

x

Track List: We're In The Money

1. We're In The Money

2. Gabriel Found His Horn

3. Sugar

4. Missy

5. Sweet And Slow

6. Lulu's Back In Town

7. Sweet Georgia Brown

8. The Lady's In Love With You

9. Louise

10. She's Funny That Way

11. If I Had You

12. Back In Your Own Backyard

13. I Want A Little Girl

Comments

Report as inappropriate
1st time listener. Pee Wee is pleasure...
Report as inappropriate
Yeah, his tone was rough, but how many clarinetists of his generation swung with Eddie Condon and Thelonious Monk and about everyone else who got it?
Report as inappropriate
All musicians have their axes to grind, Pee Wee ground his the best he could and left us with some great music, be grateful for it .
Report as inappropriate
One of the best jazz clarinetists . . . e v e r .
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natesharedoc s
gotta love the clarinet!!
Report as inappropriate
Is that Basie on piano?
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Leave a comment…
Report as inappropriate
Leave a comment…
Report as inappropriate
bbarsher
before there were benchmarks for recognizing
these authentic musical voices -
they were these artists - who answered to themselves
and their peers/audien c e s who loved them and each other
Report as inappropriate
He is one of the greats with his licorice stick!
Report as inappropriate
All the great ones are named "Pee Wee"! Russel, Hunt, Herman...You name it, the Pee Wee's got it!

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