Tag Archives: Mary Eiland


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!

INSPIRED ABANDON! (Thanks to Dan Barrett)


Thursday, October 15, 2009, was a depressing night to be outside.  Any hopes that Indian Summer was here to stay were banished by frigid drizzle that kept many people indoors . . . but some of us made our way to Smalls, on West Tenth Street, to hear Ehud Asherie and Dan Barrett — early on in his East Coast tour — play duets for an hour.  Here’s the first part of that session.  Ehud was in rare form, even facing an exceptionally out-of-tune piano (we could charitably blame it on the humidity), striding, swinging from his introductions, playing the unknown verses to familiar songs, accompanying with rare grace.  And Dan Barrett is, to my ears, the complete musician, blessed with astonishing technique and the maturity to use it in the service of the music, an extraordinary range of sonorities, irresistible, witty swing . . . all without having to do more to warm up than to put the horn together and spray oil on his slide. 

Dan and Ehud began with one of the favorite gig-starting numbers (another is SUNDAY), I NEVER KNEW — although jazz knowledge was everywhere on the bandstand, Louis in high UK style grinning at what he was hearing:

Because James P. Johnson is one of our heroes — as composer as well as pianist — Ehud called ONE HOUR at a lightly swinging tempo, perhaps subliminally thinking of how long the duet session was supposed to last:

As an ironic nod to the weather, he then suggested Berlin’s jaunty ISN’T IT A LOVELY DAY — music to make us forget that our trouser cuffs might still be wet:

A bouncy THOU SWELL came next — no rhythm section needed here!

One of the most beautiful ballads I know is Oscar Levant’s BLAME IT ON MY YOUTH — I think of an early Crosby version and a later recording by Mary Eiland.  This version stands along any I know:

Back to James P. for an ambling OLD-FASHIONED LOVE, perhaps also a remembrance of one of Dan’s idols, Vic Dickenson, who recorded this memorably for Vanguard with Ed Hall, Ruby Braff, Shad Collins, Walter Page, and Jo Jones: 

Jazz listeners will recognize that my title was originally used for a Lawrence Brown record session for Impulse — but it surely applies to the music recorded on Thursday at Smalls.  And there’s more to come!