[Dixielandjazz] Condon's lessons

Charlie Hooks charliehooks@earthlink.net
Sat, 17 Aug 2002 17:26:56 -0500

on 8/9/02 7:29 PM, Jim Denham at james@jiming.demon.co.uk wrote:

> Martino's lament is not unique to Brazil: here in the UK it is notoriously
> difficult to assemble a band to play 'Condon-style'. It's a tightrope you have
> to tread: fall on one side and you're with bland "mainstream"; fall on the
> other and you've got 'trad'. It isn't just the repertoire (though it's best to
> avoid "Muskrat Ramble" and "The Saints"), it's the approach of the individual
> players. I don't think this can be taught to a generation who have not heard
> Pee Wee, Cutty, Wild Bill, Ed Hall or Vic D in person. All we can do is
> encourage them to listen to the records, and then do their best. Not copying,
> but keeping to "the spirit".

    Jim is absolutely correct,  not just in the UK but also in (of all
places!) Chicago, Illinois, USA.   Now that Jim Beebe is no longer able to
compete because of health problems, the band closest to Condon's is headed
by trombonist Russ Phillips, with Kim Cusack on clarinet, and Bob Neighbor
on cornet.  

    There are plenty of good players here, but few working with enough other
Condon-stylists to field a band.  As Denham says correctly, they frequently
fall off the wire, usually onto the heavy trad side.