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.
|Catalogue Reference Number||NJA/PRO/24|
|Title or Caption|
|Event Date||October - November 1964|
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ï»¿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 didnât 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 â and he doesnât care who the hell knows it.
Donât fool yourself â 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 donât compare with those expected from the more fashionable clarinet names.
âHell, I know I havenât got the same kind of technique as Benny,â heâll say referring to Mr. Goodman, "but I could play a few things that would break the fingers of some of todayâs players.â
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 â 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-
Pee Wee. in his late fifties, still lives and breathes jazz and when heâs 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.â Heâs keen !
Pee Weeâs 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!â Simple and to
the point and nine times out of ten he says it only when thereâs a chair behind
Then, when he speaks â or mumbles, rather â you must be prepared for the word âBANG!"
This is used to emphasise a point and, when heâs in full flow, there are
often so many bangs itâs 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, heâs only spent a few months in
Condonâs 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 weekâs 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 heâd known in Montreal over a period of three days during a gig in that city. He
didnât remember the woman was the owner of the dog and that heâd stayed in
Pee Wee and his wife, Mary, live in a fifth floor flat in a big block off New Yorkâs 8th Avenue.
In his lounge youâd 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 hasnât been in any of them.
Heâs ridiculous. Heâs hilarious. Maybe even slightly preposterous.
But, most of all, heâs charming.
MEET THE STARS
Fact-packed articles ! Up-to-the-minute Pop Fifty! Plus hosts of fabulous pictures!
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