In 1961, shortly after filming the television special Chicago and All That Jazz (hosted by Gary Moore and featuring brief appearances by many of the alumni of the 1920s Chicago jazz scene), Eddie Condon had a special reunion that resulted in this LP. He gathered together six of the eight original members of the McKenzie-Condon Chicagoans of 1927 (himself on rhythm guitar, tenor saxophonist Bud Freeman, trumpeter Jimmy McPartland, pianist Joe Sullivan, bassist Bob Haggart and drummer Gene Krupa), had clarinetist Pee Wee Russell take the late Frankie Teschemacher's spot, got bassist Bob Haggart to fill in for the retired Jim Lannigan and added trombonist Jack Teagarden. This LP finds the all-star band performing seven numbers, including three ("China Boy," "Nobody's Sweetheart Now" and "Sugar") of the four originally cut in 1927. It is particularly interesting to hear how the players (some of whom had gone on musically to different areas) sounded back together. McPartland both hints strongly at Bix Beiderbecke in spots and sounds more modern than expected; Russell, who had been playing more adventurous music, fits into the setting well; and Krupa sounds particularly happy to be back with his old friends. Teagarden takes vocals on "Logan Square" and "After You've Gone." In addition, the band is heard on two production numbers with vocals taken by Lil Armstrong, Blossom Seeley and Teagarden ("Chicago" works quite well). The album is rounded out by a pair of Lil Armstrong piano solos ("Original Boogie" and "Original Rag"; the latter is really a Jelly Roll Morton piece). A historic and enjoyable release that deserves to be reissued on CD.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow