[Dixielandjazz] Re: Mosaic Condon

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Sun Feb 1 21:53:25 PST 2004

> Bill Haesler wrote (polite snip)

> I assume that the tune you refer to is "That's a Plenty" from 19  Aug 1957
> with Wild Bill, Bob Wilber, Vic Dickenson, Gene Schroeder, Eddie Condon,
> Leonard Gaskin and George Wettling.
> Bob Wilbur's 'squeaks and squawks' in the first break do not upset me at
> all. Just as you describe. An attempt which did not quite make it.
> Bob Wilber in his 1987 book 'Music Was Not Enough' (my copy Bayou Press
> 1989, sold to me by Mr Wilber (and inscribed "To Bill - best wishes") when
> he was in Sydney in April 1990) mentions this session on pages 67-68 and
> specifically refers to the four bar front line breaks in "That's a Plenty",
> culimating in Wettling's enthusiastic kettle drum break.
> Happy infectious stuff in one 'take', with everyone obviously having a great
> time. . Take it as it was. I certainly can. Incidentally, Bob Wilber does
> not mention his ' squeaks and squawks'
> For what it is worth I would like to quote Bob Wilber on Condon's music from
> his book. "Although I enjoyed working with Eddie [he was with the band for 2
> years], I felt when I joined him in 1956 it was a step back musically for
> me. By then the style had passed its great creative peak. Inevitably it has
> become formularized, which is something that seems to happen to all creative
> movements as time passes."
> Mmmmmmmmm!
> Very kind regards,
> Bill.
> PS: I should also add that Columbia was never slow in cutting and splicing
> jazz performances during their Louis and Condon recording periods.
> PPS: Bob Wilber was born on 15 March 1928, which in Aug 1957 would have made
> him the oldest 'teenager' in New York. Sorry about that.     8>)

Yes, that's the one. Sorry about the "teenager" goof. I was thinking about his
July 1947 sessions with Sidney Bechet and got the dates confused. In any event,
as you say, the Condon date was one take, great fun and you can hear it on the

Doesn't surprise me about his views on the style being past it's prime, as I
would agree that it was. All Dixieland styles in the USA were, by the late 50s
as I remember. I am also surprised that he thought it was a musical step
backwards in 1956. What was he doing in 1955 that would have been forward from
the Condon gigs? I don't remember, as I was in Europe most of that year.

And yes, isn't that Wettling break a beauty?


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