The biggest obstacle with the 78 format was its running time; what solos were allowed had to be brief and only crudely approximated the energy generated during a live performance. Thus Eddie Condon must have welcomed the LP era, which allowed him to indulge in the lengthy jam sessions allowed in clubs and concert halls. The two early '50s records featured on the this compilation, Jam Session Coast To Coast and Jammin’ at Condon’s, are filled with prime small group swing.
Seasoned veterans like Peanuts Hucko, Bud Freeman, and Billy Butterfield could probably run through these changes in their sleep, yet they make the most of the brief solo time, pulling from an endless supply of energetic licks. The group really digs into “Riverboat Shuffle” and “Jam Session Blues/Ole Miss,” each soloist feeding off the energy of who came before. Condon, as always, is barely audible, yet can be heard clearly announcing soloists and shouting encouragement from the sidelines.
Perhaps the group was bolstered by the competitive nature of the session; half of the record belongs to the Rampart Street Paraders, a West Coast group (hence the title of the record). Although the second half is enjoyable enough, Condon’s group cuts everyone from California (which some would argue is as it should be). The second CD, featuring all of Jammin’ at Condon’s, is more of the same: extended jams on Dixieland warhorses. No tune is particularly memorable, yet the group does achieve a consistent level of playful musicianship throughout.