Eddie and Charles, of course. Two guitarists: one who played the instrument professionally all his life, the other who gave it up in favor of a camera halfway along. Friends, and friends of hot jazz and the world it created.
When I visited Eddie’s daughter Maggie — who lives in the Condon family apartment with husband Peter and son Michael — I was struck by the long hallway and by the Charles Peterson photographs hung with care as you walk from the front door into the living room. And the display was Eddie and Phylllis Condon’s idea.
Most of the photographs will be familiar to those who love this music; two unusual non-Peterson ones at the end of this posting will surprise even those who know their Condonia.
Eddie, center (at the Third Street oasis) and one Crosby, posing, right.
Pee Wee Russell, ailing, in California, circa 1950.
Cozy Cole, uneasily solicitous, supporting Dave Tough, collapsing, 1939.
Opening night at Third Street, with Weegee and Art Hodes in the audience, Brad Gowans, Wild Bill Davison, Eddie, Tony Parenti, on the stand. Who has airshots of this WOR broadcast?
More from that famous jam session — Billie Holiday, Max Kaminsky, the yet-unidentified French guest, and Harry Lim.
Welcome, O weary traveller!
These photographs can be seen with much greater clarity in the book Eddie and Hank O’Neal did together, EDDIE CONDON’S SCRAPBOOK OF JAZZ, or in the collection of Charles Peterson’s photographs, SWING ERA NEW YORK . . . but for me it’s terribly moving and atmospheric to have these photographs of photographs that Eddie Condon passed by as he went in and out of his apartment.
The two artifacts below can’t be seen anywhere else: treasures from an interior room.
When sheet music really meant something — this, I imagine, tied in to the Decca side Eddie and the boys made of Mr. Handy’s song, circa 1950.
Johnny DeVries could do most anything — he designed the famous flyer for the 1942 Fats Waller concert, he composed the lyrics to OH, LOOK AT ME NOW! and WHEREVER THERE’S LOVE . . . and he was a witty, fanciful illustrator. Hence this affectionate sketch of Phyllis Condon.
I don’t know what the Chinese characters down the left side mean (are they the Asian version of “Poon Tang” or something Johnny cribbed from a menu?) but I do know what “Poon Tang” means . . . here used with the greatest admiration.
For those of us who love Eddie Condon and the worlds he created, it’s reassuring that Maggie has lovingly maintained this secret place in downtown New York City.