Frank Griffith celebrates Alfred “Pee Wee” Ellis, appearing as the last act of the Canary Wharf Jazz Festival on Sunday 15th from 6 15pm – (above, courtesy of Mairie d’Ivry)
American tenor saxist, and now West Country resident, Pee Wee Ellis makes a rare appearance in the UK at the Canary Wharf Jazz Festival. A schoolmate of bassist Ron Carter in the late 1950s in Rochester NY, Ellis served for several years as musical director and arranger for James Brown throughout the 1960s, and later in Van Morrison’s bands. His tune, The Chicken, has been covered by dozens of bands, most notably Jaco Pastorius and The Blues Brothers. He also recorded an album with fellow saxophonist, Dave Liebman, entitled “Lightin Up Please” in the late 1970s and has been featured recently as a guest soloist with the BBC Big Band.