Russell was on a comeback that had almost seemed impossible. In 1951, alcohol had caused a physical breakdown that sent him to the hospital, where many thought he would not recover.
Esmond Edwards, for his Prestige debut, put him together with a versatile group of musicians. Buck Clayton is perhaps best known for his work with Count Basie, and for a swing-era style, but in his time with Norman Granz's Jazz at the Philharmonic he played with everyone, including Charlie Parker. The rhythm section is equally versatile, and together, they create a session that is satisfyingly mainstream and still full of surprises.
And Tommy Flanagan, raised in the bebop hotbed of Detroit but capable of playing with anyone, raises some serious eyebrows here. He doesn't come close to staying within the conventions of traditional jazz, and yet everything he does works, making this a session that is absolutely located within Swingville, but rewarding for anyone of any jazz taste who takes the time to give it a listen.
The best YouTube presentation is the whole album, so that's what I've put up, but if I were able to single out a Listen to One, it would be "Lulu's Back in Town"--a Dixieland chestnut, but not the way they play it.
The Swingville album was titled Swingin' with Pee Wee.