You might want to sit a careful distance away from the monitor: the music that follows is vigorously exuberant.
Eddie Condon and Red McKenzie had many good ideas, but this was one of their finest — to show OKeh recording supervisor Tommy Rockwell that they had just as good a small hot band as Jimmie Noone’s Apex Club Orchestra (recording for a rival label).
Their idea obviously pleased Rockwell, not the least because it would cost less to record a quartet. This band didn’t copy Noone’s, and its rough energy is dazzling even now, with Frank Teschemacher doing the work of two men on clarinet and alto; Joe Sullivan on piano; Condon on his Vega lute (I believe) and in some part responsible for the vocal explosion that begins the record, and the mighty Gene Krupa pushing it all along ferociously. Hear Tesch’s bright sound, Sullivan’s orchestral fervor, Condon’s rhythmic mastery, Krupa’s bass-drum. Not music for the timid, and it’s clear why the Chicagoans got fired from so many “respectable” gigs and why (perhaps) they didn’t fit in with the more well-behaved Red Nichols groups, although Nichols put up with them and kept hiring them back. Here’s what the boys could do with a contemporary pop tune: flash with lots of essential improvisation under it.
OH, BABY! indeed:
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