Eddie Condon, guitarist, banjoist, vocalist under duress, bandleader, innovator, pioneer in more than music, was skilled in understatement. In fact he specialized in what I would call hyperbole in reverse, that is, praise under a thick blanket of ironic reversal. I am sure that, had he heard this set of jazz at the 2013 Whitley Bay Classic Jazz Party, he would have muttered, “That doesn’t bother me.”
Even near the end of his life (I saw him in performance twice in spring and summer 1972) Eddie and his friends cherished and created music that had a certain boyish impudence. It was never exactly rudeness, but it was clear that this was music intended to startle the timid, to show them the joys of getting Hot. Many decades have elapsed since 1927-32, but Eddie and colleagues were joyous radicals in music and (this fact needs always to be repeated) in race equality. Before Benny Goodman or Artie Shaw or John Hammond or Branch Rickey.
Music was what mattered, and it continues to matter to the players on the stand at the 2013 Whitley Bay Classic Jazz Party: Andy Schumm, cornet and surprises; Stephane Gillot, Matthias Seuffert, reeds; Kristoffer Kompen, trombone (often out of camera range but unforgettably there); Martin Seck, piano; Spats Langham, banjo; Malcolm Sked, string bass; Josh Duffee, drums. This set, explicated by Professor Schumm, took place on November 3, 2013.
Eddie might not have said as much but the music would have pleased him greatly. (And for the jazz ideologues out there, he would have liked it to be called MUSIC. Not “traditional jazz.” Not — heaven help us — “Dixieland.”)
NEVER HAD A REASON:
NOBODY’S SWEETHEART NOW:
May your happiness increase!