A unique presence in both traditional and early modern jazz, Charles Ellsworth Pee Wee Russell succeeded in translating the human genome's enormous range of beauty, sincerity, vulnerability and quirkiness into friendly, good-time music, standing his ground amongst masterful improvisers and legendary ensembles without ever sacrificing one crumb of individuality. Living Era's Take Me to the Land of Jazz may be approached as one of the best imaginable Pee Wee Russell collections ever made available on either side of the Atlantic. Spanning the years 1927-1946, it traces his early adventures with Bix Beiderbecke, Frankie Trumbauer, Miff Mole, the Mound City Blue Blowers, and Jack Bland's Rhythmakers. Russell is also heard as a consistently creative member of traditional jazz bands led by Eddie Condon, Wild Bill Davison, and Louis Prima, who sings "The Lady in Red" with uncontrived passion. Practically the entire second half of the collection features groups operating under Russell's leadership, with an awesome collective personnel list made up of his greatest and most accomplished colleagues, including pianist James P. Johnson, drummer Zutty Singleton, trombonist Vic Dickenson, saxophonist Bud Freeman, trumpeter Max Kaminsky, cornetist Muggsy Spanier, and singing trombonist Jack Teagarden.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf