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Eddie Condon

From Academic Kids

Albert Edwin Condon, better known as Eddie Condon, (16 November, 19044 August, 1973) was a jazz banjoist, guitarist, and bandleader. A leading figure in the so-called Chicago school of early jazz, he also played piano and sang on occasion.

Condon was born in Goodland, Indiana. After some time playing ukulele, he switched to banjo and was a professional musician by 1921. He was based in Chicago for most of the 1920s, and played with such jazz notables as Bix Beiderbecke.

In 1928 Condon moved to New York City. He frequently arranged jazz sessions for various record labels, sometimes playing with the artists he brought to the recording studios, including Louis Armstrong and Fats Waller. He played with the band of Red Nichols for a time. Later, from 1938 he had a long association with Milt Gabler's Commodore Records.

From the late 1930s on he was a regular at the Manhattan jazz club Nick's. The sophisticated variation on Dixieland music which Condon and his colleagues created there came to be nicknamed "Nixieland." By this time, his regular circle of musical associates included Wild Bill Davison, Bobby Hackett, Edmond Hall and Pee Wee Russell.

Condon also did a series of jazz radio broadcasts from New York's Town Hall during 1944-45 which were nationally popular. These recordings survive, and have been issued on the Jazzology label.

From 1945 through 1967 he ran his own New York jazz club, Eddie Condon's. In the 1950s Condon recorded a sequence of classic albums for Columbia Records.

In 1948 his autobiography We Called It Music was published. The book has many interesting and entertaining anecdotes about musicians Condon worked with. Eddie Condon's Treasury of Jazz (1956) was a collection of articles by various writers co-edited by Condon and Richard Gehman.

Eddie Condon toured and appeared at jazz festivals through to 1971. He died in New York City.

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