Personalities | Eddie Condon | Twenties | Jazz & Blues
(Banjo, guitar, 1905–73)
Originally from Indiana, Condon became associated with Chicago’s Austin High School Gang, a group of white West-Side teenagers who emulated King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band and created their own take on hot jazz. In 1927, Condon co-led a band with William ‘Red’ McKenzie (which also included Bud Freeman, Frank Teschemacher, Gene Krupa and Jimmy McPartland) that helped to define the driving, freewheeling Chicago jazz sound of the Roaring Twenties. Condon also worked with Red Nichols & his Five Pennies and with McKenzie’s Mound City Blue Blowers during the late 1920s.
Condon’s considerable wit and charm made him an ideal spokesperson for the 1940s revival of traditional jazz. His all-star concerts in New York’s Town Hall were broadcast weekly on the radio from 1944–45. He opened his own club, Condon’s, in New York in 1945 and in 1949–50 hosted the first jazz television show, Eddie Condon’s Floor Show. Condon continued to record, tour, write about and promote jazz until his death.
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