Recorded live onstage the historic Crest Theatre in Sacramento as part of the annual Sacramento Jazz Jubilee in 1999, this Riverwalk Jazz broadcast features performances by veteran classic jazz drummer, bandleader Hal Smith and his group— the Roadrunners with vocalist and guitarist Rebecca Kilgore.
Eddie Condon was known as a solid rhythm guitarist —and a bandleader, nightclub owner, witty raconteur—and tireless promoter of Chicago-style classic jazz. Born in Goodland, Indiana in 1905, his early career found him working in bands with members of Chicago's Austin High Gang, the only serious comb-player in hot jazz Red McKenzie and cornet legend Bix Beiderbecke.
After moving to New York in 1929, Condon worked with Louis Armstrong and Red Nichols. In 1938 he led recording sessions for the risk-taking, independent label Commodore Records and had a nightly gig at Nick's in the Village until 1944. The following year Condon led a series of landmark recording sessions at Town Hall which were broadcast live weekly on network radio. Eddie Condon opened his own popular nightclub in 1945 and it became a landmark for Chicago Jazz; he recorded for Columbia Records well into the 1950s.
Indianapolis-born drummer and bandleader Hal Smith has worked with many classic jazz bands, among them The Jim Cullum Jazz Band, the Dukes of Dixieland, Turk Murphy, Bud Freeman, and Marty Grosz's Orphan Newsboys. Hal's jazz articles have been featured in numerous publications, including the Jazz Rambler, the American Federation of Jazz Societies, the Frisco Cricket, Bunk Information and Jazz Beat.
The Roadrunners' vocalist Rebecca Kilgore has been based in Portland, Oregon since 1979, and has appeared on several Riverwalk Jazz radio shows and frequently on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross. Ms. Kilgore is an Arbors recording artist with Dave Frishberg and Dan Barrett among others.
San Diego-based clarinetist Bobby Gordon is a former member of The Jim Cullum Jazz Band, and is known for his distinctive Chicago-style clarinet playing, having studied with Joe Marsala, who called Bobby his "most gifted student and protégé."
Bobby has worked in bands with Eddie Condon, Wild Bill Davison, Bobby Hackett and Muggsy Spanier. He was the house clarinetist at Condon's in New York in the late 70s. More recently Gordon has recorded on the Arbors label with Hal Smith, Marty Grosz and the legendary jazz harpist Adele Girard Marsala, as well as leading his own sessions.
Also appearing on this Riverwalk Jazz broadcast are Roadrunners band members pianist Ray Skjelbred and bassist Marc Caparone.
Photo credit for home page teaser image: Hal Smith. Photo courtesy Riverwalk Jazz.
Text based on Riverwalk Jazz script by Margaret Moos Pick ©2000