”Ladies and gentlemen as you know we have something special down here at Birdland this evening, a recording for Blue Note Records. When you applaud for the different passages your hands go right over the records, so when they play them over and over throughout the country you may be some place and say that’s my hands all over that record that I dug down at Birdland.”
So says Pee Wee Marquette when introducing the Art Blakey Quintet on their 1954 live recording at Birdland. But who was he? Under 4ft tall he acted as the master of ceremonies at Birdland and the master at exhorting tips from musicians in particular. No tip for Pee Wee meant he would intentionally announce an artists name incorrectly, as Bobby Hutcherson found out to his cost the first time he played the club.
Pee Wee with Count Basie