Guitarist Eddie Condon was a fixture in the legendary Chicago jazz scene of the 20's, playing with the likes of Bix Beiderbecke and Jack Teagarden. After his move to New York in 1928, Condon was one of the first white musicians to record integrated bands. From 1945 until over a decade after his death, his NYC club, Eddie Condon's, spotlighted the who's who of the traditional jazz scene. Through his large number of quality recordings with top-flight musicians, Condon was a major influence on the European traditional jazz scene.
Recorded a year after Condon's death in 1973, "Hats Off" indicates the Tremble Kids' gratitude to the man and includes compositions closely associated with Eddie. Everybody has a taste on the early jazz standard, "Nobody's Sweetheart", as well as on one of Condon's classic recordings of the 1950's, the "Dixieland" standard, Tin Roof Blues. The evergreen Chicago receives a bouncy Swing interpretation, and the upbeat Sweet Georgia Brown straddles the traditional and a more modern swing.
Then there's the Tremble Kids' rousing double-time rendition of another piece Condon recorded "live" at his club, "There'll Be Some Changes Made". One of Condon's favorites, Fats Waller's "Keepin' Out of Mischief Now" is played with an élan exemplified by Bianda's tickling of the ivories.
The band gives the 1914 rag "That's A Plenty" a lively modern "Dixie" feel, and end the album with some nifty solo exchanges on their relaxed rendition of Waller's "Squeeze Me". With standout solos and intricately intertwined ensemble play throughout, this album's gotta make ya feel good – and that was always Eddie Condon's intention!