A Night at The New Eddie Condons - Red Balaban & Cats

Whether it was called Dixieland, Chicago jazz or just hot music, the freewheeling but always coherent all-star groups led by rhythm guitarist Eddie Condon created some of the most exciting music ever performed. Condon never felt compelled to solo and his main talents were organizing performances and record dates, and setting the perfect tempo. He ran two versions of his club Condon’s during 1945-58 and 1959-67. After his death, a new Condon’s was open during 1975-85.

A Night At The New Eddie Condon's features the house band of the third Condon's in 1975. While Condon was no longer around, he would have thoroughly enjoyed the music. Rhythm guitarist Red Balaban, who switches to bass on three songs, led the band which includes trumpeter Ed Polcer, trombonist Vic Dickerson and clarinetist Herb Hall. The music, with its colorful solos, explosive ensembles and irresistible drive, is worthy of Eddie Condon. Highpoints include “There'll Be Some Changes Made,” “After You've Gone,” “Royal Garden Blues” and “Fidgety Feet.” This is Dixieland at its best.


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There'll Be Some Changes Made The Wiffenpoof Song It's Wonderful The Love Nest After You've Gone It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing Thou Swell Nobody Knows Royal Garden Blues St. James Infirmary Blues Fidgety Feet

Additional Info

Additional Info

Format: Jazz Record
Soloist/Artist Red Balaban
Instruments Music and Musicians
Composer No
Accompanist/ Conductor Ed Polcher, trumpet; Herb Hall, clarinet; Vic Dickerson, trombone; Jim Andrews, piano; Red Balaban - guitar, bass & vocals; Wayne Wright, guitar; Frank Tata, bass; Ronnie Cole, drums


Customer Reviews (3)

"Red (and Cats) Hot Night!!!"Review by Big Toots
CJ 17 A Night at the New Eddie Condon’s Red Balaban and Cats

The live jazz recording possesses opportunities for thrills. It’s the nature of the beast – creativity yields – or it should – excitement and, if we’re lucky, enchantment. With this “Night” we are fortunate to be aurally taken for and participating in a very high-energy ride. “A Night at the New Eddie Condon’s” is, with apologies to Clifford Brown, a joy swing.

Leader Leonard “Red” Balaban himself was a tremendously talented Cat who could play a half-dozen instruments (here on bass, guitar and vocalizing). As a co-owner of an iteration the jazz nightspot, “Eddie Condon’s,” Balaban also led the house band at the club with whom whose namesake Red performed. Condon’s was a hothouse and this night was a swinging “sauna,” where these topflight swing players left derrieres onstage. All of their excitement and energy is delivered in this superlative recording. Covering eleven swing and New Orleans-derived selections (“St. James Infirmary,” “Thou Swell,“ It Don’t Mean a Thing, If It Ain’t Got That Swing”), frontliners Ed Polcer (always a slick, swinging, melodic and highly underrated player with the best “shakes” on the biz) and stickswinger, Herb Hall fly (“There’ll Be Some Changes Made”). All-time trombone great, Vic Dickenson brings his garrulous style throughout the night (“The Whiffenpoof Song,” “Royal Garden Blues”). Irrespective of tempo, this crew shows it wails (“It’s Wonderful,” “Love Nest,” “After You’ve Gone,” “St. James Infirmary”). Balaban’s vocals add another fine dimension here (“Thou Swell,” “Nobody Knows”). The “Cats” in the rhythm section here do absolutely everything keeping things cooking (“Fidgety Feet”).

There’s hardly any ambient audience chatter during the performances on this superior recording. Guaranteed that that’s testimony to the lucky crowd’s raptured state. These Cats were swinging Svengalis. Yes, this was a very special “Night at Eddie Condon’s.” And, a very special recording, to boot! May I take your order?
(Posted on 6/13/2015)
Red Balaban & CatsReview by Simon Sez
No, don’t look for Eddie Condon on this album. The bandleader and guitarist passed away in 1973 but a third version of his club (called Condon’s) opened up in 1975. Red Balaban, who like Condon was a nonsoloing rhythm guitarist (although he also played bass now and then), led the house band in the third Condon’s earlier years.
While Condon was not around, his spirit most certainly enjoyed this set. With Ed Polcer on trumpet, clarinetist Herb Hall (Edmond’s younger brother) and the great trombonist Vic Dickenson, it is not surprising that the music is hot and heated. Together they create Dixieland on such top tunes as “Fidgety Feet,” “Royal Garden Blues” and “There’ll Be Some Changes Made” but without corn, clichés or unintentional satire. These musicians lived this music which is why when they played it, the music lived.

Simon Sez: Well-played and enthusiastic Dixieland is on the menu in Red Balaban’s A Night At The New Eddie Condon’s (CJ17).
(Posted on 5/6/2014)
Review by -Scott Yanow
Dixieland may have been out of style in 1975, but it was very much in vogue at Condon's. Fortunately a strong sampling was preserved for us to enjoy today. (Posted on 6/12/2013)

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