By the time I had become deeply involved in the world Eddie Condon and Milt Gabler had created for all time, it was in some ways too late.
I was able to see Eddie in person three times in 1972, but when I bought my remaindered copy of EDDIE CONDON’S WORLD OF JAZZ (in 1967) the Commodore Music Shop had already been replaced by some anonymous urban architecture.
So I am very grateful that the Hagley Library has posted photographs by Victor DePalma in its exhibition. You’d hardly expect that “100 Years of Picturing the Nation’s Business: Photographs from the Collection of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America” would be so stirring, but what a delightful surprise. DePalma’s photographs were first seen in a 1950 article in NATION’S BUSINESS (the magazine of the Chamber of Commerce) on, of all things, record collectors.
Here is the link.
And two of the photos — there are five on the site, so please do visit.
Were it there today, I would feel a deep urge to go in there and bow. Reverently. It’s not just the “records” — it’s the love of the music made tangible through the faith and enthusiasm of Milt and Eddie and their friends and families.
I think I have written more than once that I am a serious Commodorian (although raised as a secular Jew) . . . on my cork bulletin board at work, in fading green sleeves, I have JADA and TAPPIN’ THE COMMODORE TILL. (When all seems dark, I gaze at those labels.)
This one’s for Maggie and Liza and all the men and women who make Commodore-flavored music to lift our spirits.
May your happiness increase.