Pee Wee Russel : We Are In The Money

We'Re In The Money - 2.59
Gabrial Found His Horn - 2.15
Sugar - 5
Missy - 4.59
Sweet And Slow - 2.44
Lulu'S Back In Town - 2.48
Sweet Georgia Brown - 5.59
The Lady Is In Love With You - 3.53
Louise - 3.14
She'S Funny That Way - 2.08
If I Had You - 4.52
Back In Your Own Backyard - 3.2
I Want A Little Girl - 3.53

Pee Wee Russell We're In the Money Charles Ellsworth Russell was born in Maple Wood, Missouri on the 27th of March in 1906. He had a somewhat spoiled childhood, being the only child of rich parents. The family subsequently moved to Muskogee, Oklahoma where Pee Wee discovered his first musical inclinations whilst at school at Central High. After messing around with first the piano and then drums and violin, he eventually started playing clarinet, taking lessons from Charlie Merrill, a local theatre musician. Pee Wee started to listen to jazz, encouraged by Merrill and his first inspiration came from frequently hearing the New Orleans clarinetist Alcide "Yellow" Nunez then playing locally in Muskogee. While still in his early teens the Russell family moved back to St. Louis and subsequently Pee Wee left home in 1920 to spend a year at the Western Military Academy in Alton, Illinois. He played fourth clarinet in the band there before going on to the University of Missouri. He began playing in local bands, mostly on riverboats and eventually joined Herbert Berger's Hotel Orchestra, a gig which took him to the Western states and led to jobs with Floyd Robinson's band in El Paso, Texas and Peck Kelley's Bad Boys in Houston. (Two of the "Bad Boys" were Jack Teagarden and clarinetist Leon Rapollo). Back in St. Louis again, Pee Wee continued to work on the riverboats, listening all the time to the now legendary bands of Charlie Creath and Fate Marable. "Not long after I got back to St. Louis," he told Whitney Balliet, "Sonny Lee brought Bix Beiderbecke around to my house, and bang! we hit it right off. We were never apart for a couple of years- day, night, good, bad, sick, well, broke, drunk. Then Bix left to join Jean Goldkette's band and Red Nichols sent for me to come to New York. That was 1927, I went straight to the old Manger Hotel and found a note in my box: Come to a speakeasy under the Roseland Ballroom. I went over and there was Red Nichols and Eddie Lang and Miff Mole and Vic Berton. I got panicky again. They told me there'd be a recording date at Brunswick (Records) the next morning at nine, and don't be late. I got there at eight-fifteen. The place was empty, except for a handyman. Mole arrived first. He said, 'You look peaked, kid,' and opened his trombone case and took out a quart. Everybody had quarts. We made Ida, and it wasn't any trouble at all." "In the late '20s and '30s I worked in a lot of bands and made God knows how many records in New York. Cass Hagen, Bert Lown, Paul Specht, Ray Levy, the Scranton Sirens, Red Nichols. We lived uptown at night. We heard Elmer Snowden and Luis Russell and Duke Ellington. Once I went to a ballroom where Fletcher Henderson was. Coleman Hawkins had a bad cold and I sat in for him one set. My God, those scores! They were written in six flats, eight flats, I don't know how many flats. I never saw anything like it. Buster Bailey was in the section next to me, and aftr a couple of numbers I told him, 'Man, I came up here to have a good time, not to work. I've had enough. Where's Hawkins?'" During the '30s and '40s Pee Wee continued to play with countless New York bands in the Dixieland idiom generally centered around Eddie Condon and Nick's. Reminiscing about that period Russell told Whitney Balliet, "Red McKensie, the singer, got me into Nick's here in the Village, in 1938, and I worked there and at Condon's place for most of the next ten years. I have a sorrow about that time. Those guys made a joke of me, a clown, and I let myself be treated that way because I was afraid, I didn't know where to go, where to take refuge." There is no doubt that Pee Wee was widely misunderstood and under-appreciated practically all his life. Somehow, his somewhat wizened appearance and manner of playing his instrument dovetailed with his seemingly eccentric musical style. His music never fitted into any conventional definition. "He is no virtuoso," wrote jazz writer George Frazier, "and his tone is breathy and squeaky, but you forget theses shortcomings when you hear the bliss and sadness and the compassion and the humility that are there in the pattern of the notes he plays... no matter how many times you hear him he is always superb. He closes his eyes and there seems to be torture written in the lines of his face, but the music that comes out of his clarinet is beautiful. It is music for the ages." Leonard Feather described Pee Wee as "The clarinetist most closely identified with what has been called the 'dirty' tone. His smeared notes, glissandi, choked-up effects, sometimes producing a sound that was half B-flat and half saliva, had much in common with Frank Teschemacher. This capricious spirit and odd phrasing, which at times resembled the stammering of a woman scared by a ghost, compensated for whatever may have been his technical problems." Time has borne witness that Pee Wee was a true genius, an original who brought a highly original concept to the art of playing jazz. Charles Ellsworth Russell died in Alexandra, Virginia on the 15th of February 1969. He left a legacy of classic recordings, not the least of which are his performances here on this album of Sugar, If I Had You and I Want a Little Girl. - Henry Hudson 1. We're in the Money* Warren & Dubin 3.00 2. Gabriel Found His Horn* Bandini 2.16 3. Sugar* Pinkard & Mitchell 5.02 4. Missy* Russell 5.00 5. Sweet and Slow* Warren & Dubin 2.45 6. Lulu's Back in Town* Warren & Dubin 2.51 7. Sweet Georgia BrownÝ Bernie, Pinkard & Casey 6.12 8. The Lady's in Love with YouÝ Lane & Loesser 4.00 9. LouiseÝ Robin & Whiting 3.20 10. She's Funny That WayÝ Whiting & Moret 2.10 11. If I Had YouÝ Shapiro 4.55 12. Back in Your Own BackyardÝ Rose 2.28 13. I Want a Little GirlÝ Mencher & Moll 4.02 * Pee Wee Russell (clarinet) Doc Cheatham (trumpet) Vic Dickenson (trombome) George Wein (piano) John Field (bass) Buzzy Drootin (drums) Al Bandini (vocal on Gabriel) Arrangements by Dick Cary Ý Pee Wee Russell (clarinet) Wild Bill Davison (trumpet) Vic Dickenson (trombome) George Wein (piano) Stan Wheeler (bass) Buzzy Drootin (drums) Recorded at Rockwell Film Studios, Cambridge, Mass * ca. 1953 Ý Oct. 2, 1954 Original recordings by George Wein Re-issue produced by Alan Bates Cover photograph: David Redfern Cover Design: Ric Simenson.

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