Few jazzmen active during the mid-'50s were more worthy of recording tributes to the era of classic jazz, just three decades distant, than Eddie Condon. Fitting, then, that two of his most interesting throwback dates, Bixieland and Eddie Condon's Treasury of Jazz, were combined for this Collectables two-fer. The first includes ten of Bix Beiderbecke's most popular features from the man who coined the most famous description of his style ("The sound came out like a girl saying yes"). Bobby Hackett takes onto his shoulders the heavy weight of living up to the legend's cornet, a fitting assignment for the man briefly known as "the new Bix" only a few years after Beiderbecke's death in 1931. Though a Dixieland date hardly need worry about artistic tension, Hackett performs admirably on versions of Beiderbecke's best ("I'm Comin' Virginia," "Singin' the Blues," "Jazz Me Blues"), echoing the melodic clarity and quick decisions of Beiderbecke, framed by Condon and the all-stars. The second date was a tribute as well, the musical version of a book just published, featuring Condon's salutes to some of his favorite jazz artists, including rarer choices like Lee Wiley and Turk Murphy as well as obvious ones like Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong. The lineup features these songs well, combining Condon's guitar with Wild Bill Davison on cornet, Pee Wee Russell or Edmond Hall on clarinet, Walter Page on bass, George Wettling on drums, and Cutty Cutshall on trombone. All in all, this reissue combines a pair of sessions playful, brash, and unassuming, welcome to fans of Dixieland jazz.
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AllMusic Review by John Bush