Sadly, Eddie Condon’s music is misunderstood and dismissed these days. The serious “traditionalists” — whether they bow to Jim Robinson or Turk Murphy or a hundred other icons — accuse him of aesthetic impurity (the way they feel about Happy Cauldwell’s tenor saxophone on Jelly Roll Morton’s 1939 Victor session.) More “modern” listeners see FIDGETY FEET and flee; they also associate anything related to Eddie as identical to semi-professional “Dixieland” played from music stands or loud Bourbon Street busking.
I offer this half-hour Voice of America broadcast as a stimulating corrective to both views. Ironically, it is introduced by Leonard Feather, openly hostile to Eddie and his musicians, although he is polite enough here. It pleases me greatly that the VOA broadcasts began with a nearly-violent flourish from Hot Lips Page, one of Eddie’s best musical friends. The generous YouTube poster dates it as April 1951, but the concert — a tribute to the recovering Pee Wee Russell — happened on February 21, 1951, according to Manfred Selchow’s invaluable book on Ed Hall, PROFOUNDLY BLUE.
Something for everyone: serious collective improvisation by a group of players who are both exuberant and precise; rhapsodies; ballads; jazz classics. There’s kinshp between Buzzy Drootin and Max Roach, between Cutty Cutshall and Bill Harris, between Ernie Caceres and Ben Webster, between Joe Bushkin and Teddy Wilson. Heard with open ears, this music is timeless, as inspired as the sounds cherished by the Jazz Bureaucracy.
Here’s the bill of fare:
FIDGETY FEET / I’M FOREVER BLOWING BUBBLES: Wild Bill Davison, cornet; Cutty Cutshall, trombone; Edmond Hall, clarinet; Gene Schroeder, piano; Eddie Condon, guitar; Bob Casey, string bass; Buzzy Drootin, drums. UNDER A BLANKET OF BLUE: Ernie Caceres, baritone sax; Schroeder; Al Hall, string bass; Drootin. I CAN’T GET STARTED – HALLELUJAH! Joe Bushkin, piano; Ray McKinley, drums. IN A MIST: Ralph Sutton, piano. BASIN STREET BLUES: as BUBBLES:
Once again, I am impressed by the storming drumming of Buzzy Drootin. If you share my admiration, I direct you to the two brilliant videos created by Kevin Dorn on YouTube — which made me appreciate Buzzy even more. Eddie and Co. I already appreciate over the moon. To quote Eddie, “Whee!”
May your happiness increase!