I’ve been very fortunate to meet generous people through JAZZ LIVES — and a new one is archivist / jazz trombonist Rob Hudson, who works for the Carnegie Hall Archives.
He found me because of a posting I did on Fats Waller’s rather uneven 1942 concert at the hall, and we chatted about the event, the music, and what recorded evidence remains. (To my knowledge, only a BLUES in Bb — a duet for Fats and Hot Lips Page, and a HONEYSUCKLE ROSE featuring Max Kaminsky, Bud Freeman, Pee Wee Russell, Eddie Condon, John Kirby, and Gene Krupa have come to light, although I am sure that the concert was recorded in full.)
But back to the Carnegia Hall Archives: I asked Rob what materials were in the vaults relating to my hero (and yours, too) Eddie Condon, and this magical document appeared. It’s not in the best shape, but it is the poster for the October 14, 1944, Condon concert (Rob told me that this had been used as the backing for another poster in someone’s collection, which strikes me as incredible).
What’s even more incredible is the collection of signatures. Some of them have to have been from the Forties and perhaps from a visit to Condon’s club — but since trumpeter Johnny Letman signed and dated his signature “1959,” I imagine a jazz fan bringing this around with him to the clubs (Condon’s, Ryan’s, the Metropole) and asking the musicians, the Mighty, to sign it.
Everyone’s here — from Don Frye to Maxine Sullivan to Frank Newton and Pee Wee Russell: a collection to cherish. There;s Ralph Sutton, Ellington copyist Tom Whaley, Lee Blair, Harry Carney, Jimmy Crawford, James P. Johnson, Zutty Singleton, Art Tatum (via his rubber stamp), Don Kirkpatrick, Omer Simeon (from the Fifties Wilbur DeParis band) and more.
Thanks to Rob, to the Carnegie Hall Archives, and to Maggie Condon — for permission to share this wonderful piece of paper with you:
I’m looking forward to visiting the Archives to see their other treasures — and possibly reporting back to my loyal readers. The strains of a Condon-organized OLE MISS are in my head . . .