The unique clarinetist Pee Wee Russell is heard on this CD at two separate key points in his career. Five selections are taken from his first recordings after recovering from a near fatal illness in 1951. Russell jams in better-than-expected form with a sextet that includes the great young cornetist Ruby Braff. The other eight numbers date from 1958 when Russell was beginning to escape from the confines of Dixieland and playing more modern swing-oriented standards. Pianist Nat Pierce contributed the arrangements for a septet that also features Braff, tenor-saxophonist Bud Freeman and trombonist Vic Dickenson. The music is uniformly excellent although virtually all of the performances from these two sessions are available in more complete form elsewhere.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow