Pee Wee Moore

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Pee Wee Moore in the Seventies
Pee Wee Moore as a young man
Pee Wee Moore in 2008

Numa Smith "Pee Wee" Moore (born March 5, 1928, Raleigh, North Carolina, d. April 13, 2009) was an American jazz saxophonist.[1]

Moore attended the Hampton Institute in Virginia as a pre-med student where he switched his major to music after one semester. He joined the Royal Hamptonians and toured on a USO circuit. While traveling back to Hampton from New York, Pee Wee, while asleep in the backseat of his friend’s car, lost his left eye in an accident.[2]

Moore played with Lucky Millinder and Louis Jordan in 1951, and played with R&B musicians such as Wynonie Harris early in the decade. He worked with Illinois Jacquet in 1952 and James Moody in 1954-56, then played with Dizzy Gillespie in 1957, recording with him on several albums for Verve Records. He also worked with Mary Lou Williams in 1957 and Bill Doggett in 1965.[2]

Moore moved from New York back to Raleigh in the 1970s to care for his mother and recover from alcohol addiction. There, he earned a living as a handyman while playing regularly at a variety of venues in the Raleigh-Durham area.[2]

Moore has often been confused with Sol Moore, also called "Pee Wee", who also played with Dizzy Gillespie. This Pee Wee Moore played with the Jeter-Pillars Orchestra, recorded with Floyd Ray late in the 1930s, and worked with Gillespie in the Les Hite big band in 1939-42 before recording with Gilliespie's ensemble in 1946-47.[2]


With Dizzy Gillespie

With James Moody


  1. ^ Zagier, Alan Scher. News and Observer (Durham, NC). "Jazzman doesn’t sing the blues." 2/22/1999
  2. ^ a b c d Zagier, ALan Scher. News and Observer (Durham, NC). "Jazzman doesn’t sing the blues." 2/22/1999 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "ReferenceA" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).

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