[Dixielandjazz] Condon Style

Graham Martin grahmartin at bigpond.com
Wed Sep 27 17:31:48 PDT 2006

Steve Barbone wrote:

["The style is pretty straightforward. SOLOIST emphasis in a free blowing band of relaxed musicians. Much less emphasis on ensemble. Mostly head arrangements. Swing based rhythm. Lots of booze and conversation on the stand among friends who were hep when it was hip to be hep."]

I have seen the comment about "Much less emphasis on ensemble", or similar words, in many of the critiques of Eddie Condon's band but I was a little surprised to see Steve use it. I really wonder if it is true? The sound of Condon's band of the 1950s is always what I have in my mind for the perfect band ensemble sound. I guess I am particularly thinking of a Wild Bill, Cutty Cutshall, Pee Wee (or Ed Hall) frontline combination. Wild Bill laying down a driving lead, Cutty always playing great connecting lines and rhythmic phrases, and Pee Wee ducking in and out and over the top. Behind them, a truly wonderful rhythm section that equalled the swing and excitement of the All-American rhythm section" (if fact, Walter Page was in both). Then there are the only seeming 'out of control' climaxes of those last choruses. Plus the superb Tags!

Sure the solos are the tops. But to me the ensemble is perfectly structured with exactly the right emphasis!

BTW, those that think it was not possible to copy Pee Wee's style obviously never heard Archie Semple. 



Graham Martin
Queensland, AUSTRALIA

E-mail: grahmartin at bigpond.com
Website: http://tromjazz.netfirms.com/

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