October 02, 2001
Best of Jazz
Jazz, Dixieland, Swing, Early Jazz

Album Review

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.
arwulf arwulf, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Ida, Sweet as Apple Cider
  2. Hello, Lola
  3. One Hour
  4. Bugle Call Rag
  5. Margie
  6. Oh Peter!
  7. Spider Crawl
  8. Who's Sorry Now?
  9. Anything for You
  10. The Eel
  11. Madame Dynamite
  12. Chasing Shadows
  13. Love Is Just Around the Corner
  14. At the Jazz Band Ball
  15. Don't Be That Way
  16. Embraceable You
  17. Dinah
  18. I've Found a New Baby
  19. Oh! Baby
  20. Fidgety Feet
  21. Jig Walk
  22. Take Me to the Land of Jazz