A gathering of individualists, playing the blues in two moods.
PeeWee Russell, Willie “the Lion” Smith, Wild Bill Davison, Eddie Condon, Morey Feld. The film, made for Canadian television, purports to capture what it was like after hours at Condon’s club (the midtown version) in December 1963. How close it is to reality is anyone’s guess. Did Helen Ward, looking so pretty here, drop by to sing when there was no camera crew in attendance, and was there usually someone sitting at a table, sketching?
But the music that initially feels tenuous, ready to fall off the edge into disunity, comes together surprisingly. The sounds are genuine, and so are the smiles on everyone’s face at the close. “All the Olympians,” to quote Yeats.
Thanks to Bob Erwig for posting this on Dailymotion, and to David Weiner for reminding me about it.