Pee Wee Russell

His Best Recordings: 1927-1944

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AllMusic Review by

Best of Jazz presents 22 solidly swung performances recorded by clarinetist Pee Wee Russell with 15 different ensembles between August 1927 and September 1944. Russell's individualistic tone and technique place him among the most unique and instantly identifiable instrumentalists in all of jazz. This sampler traces a chronological path through the early to middle portion of his recording career. Russell is heard as inspired sideman with Red Nichols & His Five Pennies, the Mound City Blue Blowers, Jack Bland and His Rhythmakers, Billy Banks, Eddie Condon, Louis Prima, Bobby Hackett and Teddy Wilson; with Bud Freeman's Summa Cum Laude Orchestra, and as a member of a Commodore Records Jam Session band. Recordings made under Russell's name include two different trios, a quartet, and his own version of the Rhythmakers. Russell solos throughout but he is not always prominently featured. Are these his best records? From a traditional jazz standpoint, yes, many of them belong at or near the top of the heap. Most importantly, this compilation may serve as both a stimulating dose of old-fashioned jazz and a portrait of one of this music's most intriguing improvisers.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
feat: Red Nichols
2:51
2 3:16
3 3:25
4
feat: Billy Banks
2:49
5
feat: Billy Banks
2:53
6
feat: Billy Banks
2:59
7
feat: Billy Banks
3:03
8
feat: Billy Banks
3:08
9
feat: Rhythmakers
3:03
10
feat: Billy Banks
3:03
11 2:58
12 3:02
13
feat: Eddie Condon
3:06
14 2:36
15
feat: Teddy Wilson
3:08
16 4:04
17 2:43
18
feat: James P.
2:19
19
feat: Bud Freeman
3:00
20
feat: Bud Freeman
2:54
21 2:45
22 2:59
blue highlight denotes track pick