If cornetist Max Kaminsky (1908-1994) is known at all today, he might be categorized as “one of the Condon mob,” or, “a Dixieland musician.” The first title would be true: Max worked with Eddie frequently from 1933 on, but the second — leaving the politics of “Dixieland” aside, please — would be unfair to a musician who played beautifully no matter what the context.
Here’s an early sample of how well Max played alongside musicians whose reputations have been enlarged by time, unlike his:
Here he is with friends Bud Freeman and Dave Tough as the hot lead in Tommy Dorsey’s Clambake Seven (Edythe Wright, vocal):
and a great rarity, thanks to our friend Sonny McGown — Max in Australia, 1943:
From 1954, a tune both pretty and ancient, with Ray Diehl, Hank D’Amico, Dick Cary, possibly Eddie Condon, Jack Lesberg, Cliff Leeman:
Hank O’Neal, writer, photographer, record producer, talks about Max, and then recalls the record, WHEN SUMMER IS GONE, he made to showcase Max’s lyrical side, with a side-glance at Johnny DeVries and the singer Mary Eiland:
You know you can hear the entire Chiaroscuro Records catalogue for free here, don’t you?
Back to Max, and a 1959 treat from a rare session with (collectively) Dick Cary, Cutty Cutshall, Bob Wilber, Phil Olivella, Dave McKenna, Barry Galbraith, Tommy Potter, and Osie Johnson, to close off the remembrance of someone splendid:
Let us not forget the worthy, alive in memory or alive in person.
May your happiness increase!