Eddie Condon

The Commodore Years

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The contents of this two-LP set have fortunately been reissued in various forms on CD, for the music is quite classic. The first album contains three sessions that define the Eddie Condon "Nicksieland" sound and set the standard for Dixieland. Such distinctive players as cornetist Bobby Hackett, trombonists Jack Teagarden and George Brunies, clarinetist Pee Wee Russell, tenorman Bud Freeman and pianists Jess Stacy and Joe Bushkin are in consistently inspired form. Among the many highpoints of this album are Russell's solo on "Love Is Just Around the Corner," Hackett's lyrical lead on "Embraceable You" (a later favorite of Miles Davis), Teagarden's melody statement on "Diane," and versions of "California Here I Come" and "Sunday" that are filled with joyous ensembles and the enthusiastic drumming of Lionel Hampton. The second set, a marvelous trio outing by Bud Freeman, Jess Stacy and drummer George Wettling, is no less exciting. It's essential music in one form or another.