Storyville Records

Erwin, Pee Wee

Pee Wee Erwin (May 30, 1913, Falls City, Nebraska - June 20, 1981, Teaneck, New Jersey) was an American jazz trumpeter. Erwin started on trumpet at age four. He played in several territory bands before joining the groups of Joe Haymes (1931–33) and Isham Jones (1933–34). He then moved to New York City, where he was prolific as a studio musician, performing on radio and in recording sessions. He played with Benny Goodman in 1934-35, then with Ray Noble in 1935; the next year he joined Goodman again, taking Bunny Berigan's empty chair. In 1937 he again followed Berigan, this time in Tommy Dorsey's orchestra, where he remained until 1939. Erwin led his own big band in 1941-42 and 1946. In the 1950s he played Dixieland jazz in New Orleans, and in the 1960s formed his own trumpet school with Chris Griffin; among its graduates was Warren Vache. Erwin played up until the year of his death, recording as a leader for United Artists in the 1950s and issuing six albums in 1980 and '81, the last two years of his life.

Recordings

Pee Wee Erwin: Dr. Jazz Vol. 14

The music is pure Dixieland. The atmosphere here is relaxed and intimate. Pee Wee Irwin was a “classical” Dixieland trumpeter. Known for his accuracy, endurance and dependable lips, who played with Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey Orchestras in the thirties. A fiery and creative trumpet player, he join forces here with the highly regarded clarinet and tenor stylist Gene Sedric, who played for many years with Fats Waller, plus the master swing and Dixieland trombonist, Vic Dickenson. In the 40’s, Dickenson had already established himself as one of the great trombone individualists. His playing is sometimes humorous and always intensely rhythmic on fast numbers, while exhibiting great warmth and personality on the slower tunes. One can clearly hear that these are three seasoned professionals who enjoyed working together. As Pee Wee says, “Frankly, it was the most relaxed and fun-to-play-with band I ever worked with.”