The Career Of Pee Wee Russell | St. Louis Public Radio

The Career Of Pee Wee Russell

May 2, 2015

Jazz Unlimited for May 3 is “The Career of Pee Wee Russell.”  Clarinetist Pee Wee Russell was born in Maplewood Missouri in 1906.  All of his life, he was a contrarian who went his own way.  Even though he was a very original voice, Pee Wee was very shy and people laughed at him because he looked like a clown.  Whitney Balliet remarked that, “even his feet look sad.”  During his career, Balliet noted that he worked with the wrong musicians most of his life and during the last seven or eight years worked with musicians he should have been working with his entire life.  He also became a very good abstract painter in the 1960’s.  In this show, we will hear him with Bix Beiderbecke, Coleman Hawkins, a bunch of Eddie Condon groups, Hot Lips Page, Chu Berry, Earl Hines and modernists Bob Brookmeyer, Jimmy Giuffre, Oliver Nelson, Elvin Jones  and Thelonious Monk.

The Slide Show contains photos of Pee Wee Russell and Oliver Nelson, also heard on this show.

The Archive for this show will be available until the morning of May 14, 2015.

Here is a 1961 video from the SWF-TV-studio, Baden-Baden, Germany with the Newport Festival All Stars: Ruby Braff (c) Vic Dickenson (tb) Pee Wee Russell (cl) George Wein (p) Jimmy Woode (b) Buzzy Drootin (d) Joachim E. Berendt (narr,prod) playing "Jazz Train Blues" and "When Your Lover Has Gone."