I just posted this YouTube clip from the March of Time documentary about the making of records, “It’s In The Groove,” because it features an Eddie Condon band in 1949. The personnel seen on screen is Bobby Hackett, trumpet; Will Bradley, trombone; Peanuts Hucko, clarinet; Joe Bushkin, piano, Eddie, guitar; presumably Jack Lesberg, bass (well out of camera range) and Buddy Rich, drums.
Here it is again:
Why am I bringing this up again, you might ask? Well, there’s the simple pleasure of viewing it again, of reminding people of EDDIE CONDON and what beauty he created whenever he got his friends together.
But there’s something else. I knew that Sidney Catlett was on the record session for which this was presumably a rehearsal, although the time sequence is a bit puzzling to me.
Now there’s another puzzle, posed by the great drummer / listener / jazz scholar Hal Smith — and I quote:
To the best of my knowledge, that clip of Condon & Co. is lip-synched, and it’s BIG SID on the soundtrack. I read an article–I think in Down Beat–mentioning that Sid played the soundtrack, but was too ill to make the filming. Anyway, I remember seeing/hearing that clip several years ago and thinking “That doesn’t sound anything like Buddy Rich.” The news item about Sid confirmed my suspicions!
I invite JAZZ LIVES readers to watch the clip again for evidence of the musicians miming their playing to a pre-recorded soundtrack, and then (if they will indulge me in this jazz-mystery-solving), to listen, eyes closed. It might be Sidney, although it sounds simpler than he often chose to be . . . another bit of evidence that suggests he was ailing, although recordings with Muggsy Spanier in 1950 and a WMEX broadcast from that same year have him much more recognizable.