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Pee Wee Russell
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    (March 27, 1906-February 15, 1969)
    Born in Maplewood, Missouri
    Birth name was Charles Ellsworth Russell
    Jazz saxophonist and clarinetist
    Played in the bands of Red Nichols, Bobby Hackett and Eddie Condon
    Recorded the albums 'Clarinet Strut' (1952), 'Over the Rainbow' (1958), 'Salute to Newport' (1959), 'Swingin with Pee Wee' (1961), 'Gumbo' (1964), 'Ask Me Now!' (1965), 'The College Concert' (1966) and 'The Spirit of 67' (1967)
    His unorthodox playing style led to accusations that he was out of tune.
    During his stint with Condon's group, he was often the butt of the bandleader's jokes, noting 'I let myself be treated that way because I was afraid. I didn't know where else to go.'
    He said, 'I had to drink half a pint of whiskey in the morning before I could get out of bed'; not too surprisingly, he died from cirrhosis of the liver and pancreitis.
    He said of his style, 'You take each solo like it was the last one you were going to play in your life.'
    He took up abstract painting as a hobby.
    His last gig was at Richard Nixon's inaugural ball.

Credit: C. Fishel

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