Given below are the liner notes Keith wrote for this album, which is a co-production between PW PRODUCTIONS and the cafe label HORN STREET. The Bath Chronicle described it as “remarkably good”.
You can buy the CD via secure online payment.
You can also purchase the album by mail order. The price is £10 per copy, plus £1.50 postage and packing. Please send a cheque payable to Nunney Jazz Cafe to the following address:
SOMERSET BA11 4NP.
Dealers please contact us for trade prices.
Here are a couple of sample tracks from the album, both Pee Wee originals - they are streamed to save download time.
Blues Alley (6:15) is a Monk-influenced blues.
Tag Alone (6:32) is a hard bop swinger - listen to Pee Wee turn the heat up in his solo!
In the Spring of 1999 I was approached by Warminster Community Radio (WCR) - a non-profit local radio station starting up in the West Wiltshire region of England - and asked if I would like to arrange some modern jazz programming. This was to include not only DJ slots but performances on the concert stage next to the station, for live broadcast.
We are fortunate in this area to have living here one of the most internationally celebrated jazz musicians - Pee Wee Ellis. Pee Wee is legendary for his contribution to the work of such artists as James Brown and Van Morrison, works regularly with a wide variety of other major performers, tours the world with his own jazz-funk band, and in recent years has made a critically acclaimed return to his roots in playing straight ahead jazz. Pee Wee does a lot to contribute to the community in which he lives, via both teaching and performances, so it was natural to approach him for the first WCR jazz concert on 31 July 1999 - which he was happy to do, as well as offering to do a guest DJ slot for a couple of hours beforehand!
Pee Wee often sits in at a local jazz event, the Nunney Jazz Café, so the resident trio from the Café provided the rhythm section for the WCR gig - Andy Keep on double bass (one of the handful of top double bass players in the South West of England), Simon Gore on drums (who has worked with many leading jazz musicians such as Andy Sheppard and Alan Skidmore) and myself Keith Harrison-Broninski on piano (recently returned to jazz performance after years spent writing classical music). The concert was performed to a small audience of enthusiasts in attendance at the station, plus thousands of WCR listeners, and thanks to Pee Wee’s storming playing was an astonishing occasion - so much so that an album release of the performance is a necessity.
This album includes all tracks played that night (bar one for space reasons), and is in a classic live jazz style; an essentially unrehearsed gig, captured as minimally as possible to preserve the acoustic sound - complete with the occasional crackle where a lightning storm intruded on the broadcast. The material is a mixture of standards and Pee Wee originals. The informal quartet format gives Pee Wee a chance not only to show his complete mastery of the tenor saxophone but also to demonstrate his emotional range: from the swinging hard bop of Tag Alone and infectious calypso rhythm of My Neighbourhood (both Pee Wee originals), to deep lyricism on John Coltrane’s beautiful ballad Naima and an almost feverish level of funk on Herbie Hancock’s Canteloupe Island. There is even an example of what Pee Wee calls “cheeky” singing on Cherry Red, inspired by his old musical associate Esther Phillips.
If there’s one thing that Pee Wee’s music communicates, it is an irrepressible feeling of joy and love of life that transcends musical boundaries. Even if you think you don’t like jazz, you’ll enjoy this album.
Keith Harrison-Broninski, August 1999