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Pee Wee Russell UK Tour 1964 002

Pee Wee Russell UK Tour 1964 002

Inside front cover and page 1 of a programme for Pee Wee Russell's tour of Great Britain, October & November 1964. The inside front cover profiles the career of Pee Wee Russell, with an advert for Melody Maker on page 1.

Image Details

Catalogue Reference Number NJA/PRO/24
Creator Jack Hutton
Date Made 1964
Item Format Programme
Title or Caption
Event Date October - November 1964

This text has been generated by computer from the image and may contain typographical and/or grammatical errors.

PEE WEE RUSSELL
JACK HUTTON. Editor of the MELODY MAKER
Pee Wee Russell has a face like a Bartholomew road map. He snorts when he thinks something is funny. And he has a conspiratorial wink that could get him into a lot of trouble if he didn’t look so avuncular and harmless.
His personality is one of the strangest in a business where weirdies are commonplace. It's a blend of shy diffidence, which is completely disarming, and a fierce belief that he has been playing worthwhile music for over forty years — and he doesn’t care who the hell knows it.
Don’t fool yourself — Pee Wee can get steamed up all right. Like when people become patronising and suggest, by implication, that his music belongs to another era. Or that the technical demands placed on him don’t compare with those expected from the more fashionable clarinet names.
“Hell, I know I haven’t got the same kind of technique as Benny,” he’ll say referring to Mr. Goodman, "but I could play a few things that would break the fingers of some of today’s players.”
When Coleman Hawkins played for Fletcher Henderson he got ill one night and Pee Wee sat down in his illustrious chair and depped for him — on tenor.
Quite an occasion, and one which Pee Wee is likely to bring to the attention of those who harp too much on his reading ability and the subject of tech-
nique.
Pee Wee. in his late fifties, still lives and breathes jazz and when he’s not working, he still takes the trouble to hire a room and "practice round a few new sounds that are going on in my head.” He’s keen !
Pee Wee’s peculiar manner of playing, his oblique approach to the construction of a solo, the seemingly illogicality of his musical thoughts are mirrored when he tackles the task of coping with everyday life.
Pee Wee, the man, is quite a rare animal.
When he wants you to sit, for example, he says "Fall!” Simple and to
the point and nine times out of ten he says it only when there’s a chair behind
you!
Then, when he speaks — or mumbles, rather — you must be prepared for the word “BANG!"
This is used to emphasise a point and, when he’s in full flow, there are
often so many bangs it’s like being in the middle of a bunch of kids playing cow-
boys and Indians.
He is reluctant to discuss the past and he hates being linked with the Chicago or Eddie Condon style of music. He likes Condon immensely, but points out that, in forty-odd years of playing, he’s only spent a few months in
Condon’s bands. He just wants to be known as a clarinet player
Pee Wee has great trouble coping with names. A few months ago, after struggling valiantly with a band of Scots for a week’s engagement in Toronto, he returned to New York and announced that everyone in the outfit was called Jim McTurd.
He once told a woman visitor to his flat in New York all about a dog he’d known in Montreal over a period of three days during a gig in that city. He
didn’t remember the woman was the owner of the dog and that he’d stayed in
her house!
Pee Wee and his wife, Mary, live in a fifth floor flat in a big block off New York’s 8th Avenue.
In his lounge you’d find seven clarinets, a record player and a canvas garden chair. At night the room is illuminated by one red electric bulb, naked, plugged in at the point on the floor.
Pee Wee can usually be found sipping a glass of beer and gazing out the window at the customers entering the Turkish belly dancing clubs that line the Avenue below. He vows he knows the best club, but Mary is certain he hasn’t been in any of them.
He’s ridiculous. He’s hilarious. Maybe even slightly preposterous.
But, most of all, he’s charming.
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