2 LP's on 1 CD: THINGS AIN'T WHAT THEY USED TO BE/YEARS AGO.
/Pee Wee Russell.
Personnel: Coleman Hawkins (tenor saxophone); Pee Wee Russell (clarinet); Hilton Jefferson (alto saxophone); Al Sears (tenor saxophone); Buddy Tate (tenor saxophone, clarinet); Joe Newman (trumpet); J.C. Higginbotham, Vic Dickenson (trombone); Jimmy Hamilton (clarinet); Claude Hopkins, Cliff Jackson (piano); Danny Barker, Tiny Grimes (guitar); Wendell Marshall, Joe Benjamin (bass); Bill English, J.C. Heard (drums).
Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on April 14 and May 19, 1961. Tracks 3, 4, 6, 8-10 originally released as THINGS AIN'T WHAT THEY USED TO BE on Prestige/Swingville (2024); tracks 1, 2, 5, 7, 11, orginally released as YEARS AGO on Prestige/Swingville (2025). Includes liner notes by Ralph J. Gleason.
Digitally remastered by Phil De Lancie (1992, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California).
Personnel: Coleman Hawkins (tenor saxophone); Danny Barker , Tiny Grimes (guitar); Buddy Tate (clarinet, tenor saxophone); Jimmy Hamilton, Pee Wee Russell (clarinet); Hilton Jefferson (alto saxophone); Al Sears (tenor saxophone); Joe Newman (trumpet); J.C. Higginbotham, Vic Dickenson (trombone); Claude Hopkins, Cliff Jackson (piano); J.C. Heard, Billy Gene English (drums).
Audio Remasterer: Phil DeLancie.
Audio Remixer: Phil DeLancie.
Recording information: Van Gelder Studios, Englewood Cliffs, NJ (04/14/1961/05/19/1961).
Photographer: Burt Goldblatt.
Arrangers: Jimmy Hamilton; Al Sears.
Hawkins and Russell do not appear together on this release, although judging from the title, they would appear to. Tracks one through four feature Hawkins' 1961 nonet. There is clarinet on these tunes, but the fine print tells us that the player is Jimmy Hamilton, not Pee Wee Russell. We have to wait until tracks six through 11 to hear Russell play with his octet. To add to the confusion, track five features neither Hawkins nor Russell; it is just a trio recording from members of Russell's group.
The only thing the two parts of JAM SESSION IN SWINGVILLE have in common is the year they were recorded. The musical styles themselves differ. Hawkins' style is more mainstream. Russell's style is a mixture of Chicago trad and early swing. Thankfully, both sets are extremely well performed, as both of these jazz giants are in top form during their many inspired solos. Highlights include Hawkins' happy-go-lucky, "Spring Swing" and Russell's bluesy "Years Ago."