Jazz from Geoff
The Blog 24. 3. 2020
OK, we are all missing the live stuff, and we are all getting used to a closed environment, and maybe we are all getting used to a slightly modified diet.
No, you can’t eat the loo rolls, or even cook with them, but they are not the only things now definitely NOT on the shelves.
That is of course if you can actually get to the shelves. Yesterday I tried my hand for the first time at ordering food online for home delivery. With wife June looking over my shoulder we logged in to Tesco, went through the list of what was available, gradually building up a modest shopping basket.
Then for the delivery slot.........none available until Mid April, yes, mid April, and that even included the opportunity of going to pick it up yourself!
OK, at least I could get onto Tesco’s web site. Sainsbury’s and Waitrose were unable to take my online call!!
So how can we cheer ourselves up?
I know many of you have a greater knowledge in depth of the jazz music we love than I have, but I thought I would share with you some of my jazz journey, but maybe not in a chronological order!
In this and future blogs I will provide links to some of the recordings I have made at Hedsor over the years and I will also publish links to music on the world wide web, both sound recordings and video. There is a LOT of great stuff around “out there”.
First this week, something to keep you quiet for at least 25 hours.
Some of you will have heard of Eddie Condon. Nominally a guitar and banjo player, but really a professional drunk, and gatherer of bands to play together in the roaring twenties around, at the start, Chicago, but he went on to run 3 clubs in New York.
He was much associated with players of the formulative music of the early white jazz that eventually became known as “Dixeland Jazz” and that then developed in the 1950’s to form “Mainstream”. How we all love labels!
Below, is an article I culled from a magazine eons ago, written by Steve Voce, which will put the link to the music into perspective.
“IF YOU take yourself to http://tinyurl.com/bao26ea you'll find a quite extraordinary library of Eddie Condon Town Hall concerts from the 40s. There are almost 50 half-hour broadcasts. The sound quality is surprisingly good considering the age of the material, and in any case one's ears soon adapt to it. Condon's concert series ran weekly from 21 May 1944 until 7 April 1945. There was the odd gap in the broadcasts and so the set above is, if not complete, almost so. In this version each programme in the list is identified by its opening number. If you mouse click on a programme, it will begin to play.
The wartime concerts were broadcast on the Blue Network before a live audience that was admitted free. Because of the popularity of Condon's music there was a capacity audience each week with many turned away. Condon drew on musicians working in the New York clubs (he had the band at Nick's). So Max Kaminsky and Gene Schroeder were regulars, but the pianists who played in the bands included Joe Bushkin, Art Hodes, Cliff Jackson, Norma Teagarden and Jess Stacy. These three were tremendously effective.
Featured in more specialised roles were James P Johnson, Willie The Lion Smith and Earl Hines. The brass involved Bobby Hackett, Muggsy Spanier, Wild Bill Davison, Yank Lawson, Rex Stewart, Wingy Manone, Hot Lips Page, Jack Teagarden, Tommy Dorsey, Miff Mole, Benny Morton and, oddly. Bill Harris from the Herman band. Herman himself starred in one of the programmes, as did another bandleader of the time, Gene Krupa.
Condon used musicians from the staff of radio studios like Billy Butterfield and Ernie Caceres. Pee Wee Russell was the clarinettist on most programmes and Condon ribbed him throughout, referring to him as "The commando" and introducing him as "Miff Mole is the one with glasses, Pee Wee Russell is the one who needs them."
Pee Wee's contributions to these sessions are highly regarded, but I regard them as a handicap, the vagaries of his playing becoming tiresome after a while.
Much more satisfying was the work of Caceres who occasionally played clarinet in the ensembles, but more often took a feature number with Bushkin and the dependable Wettling, who was used in most broadcasts. Caceres baritone playing is seriously good and has an authority to rival Carney's.
The absentee who one would have expected to find in any Condon session was Bud Freeman. His omission was probably because of an incident from 1939. Bud's Summa Cum Laude band with Condon had been very successful in the musical Swingin' The Dream. After its short run, Bud was asked to take the band on tour. He dropped Eddie from the band because Eddie was drunk most of the time and Bud thought he would spoil the tour. Condon held a grudge for the rest of his life”.
Last night that link http://tinyurl.com/bao26ea still worked, and will lead you into an adventure in 1940’s radio. Sit back and enjoy, but possibly not all in one week. When I was an apprentice, I worked a 47 hour week, so doing Condon in one go may be a bit exhausting! Just in case the link leads you back to me (I first mentioned this in 2013), I will try ripping the music into DropBox for future blogs. Feedback please via Octogeoff@outlook.com if the links don't work for you.
Now for some back Hedsor Jazz.
will take you to 23rd May 2019 and Lester Brown and Mark Aston.
Please enjoy all of the approx 27 hours of jazz available via the above links.