Blowin Off Steam 1926-1928

Blowin Off Steam 1926-1928

Joe Candullo and his Everglades Orchestra

Label: Retrieval
Format: CD
Barcode: 0608917405620
Catalog number: RTR 79066
Releasedate: 29-04-11

Joe Candullo and His Everglades Orchestra were a popular jazz outfit during the 1920s. Joe Candullo has always had a small but enthusiastic group of supporters and fans of his music – hopefully this CD will go some way to introducing his excellent hot dance music, made over a few short years in the 1920s, to a wider audience. This is early hot jazz!
  • All recordings made in New York
  • Candullo’s output for Edison is of considerable jazz interest
  • In a comparatively short career he made some very interesting sides of considerable jazz value which deserve to be better known
  • When examining the recorded output of Candullo’s band, what stands out is the preponderance of ‘hot’ titles
Joe Candullo is a more or less forgotten name among American bandleaders of the 1920's. But in a comparatively short career he made some very interesting sides of considerable jazz value which deserve to be better known. A listen to this CD would be very rewarding.

The explosion in popularity of jazz-oriented dance music in the years after the First World War permeated all levels of society and entertainment media. Theatre, vaudeville, burlesque, cabaret, and night clubs all featured bands and orchestras playing jazz-inflected music to a greater or lesser degree. Among the thousands of such musicians was a young violinist by the name of Joe Candullo, whose band in the 1920s was typical of the groups providing music for cabarets and nightclubs, but at the same time remarkable, both for the quality of the music and the repertoire they recorded.

When examining the recorded output of Candullo’s band, what stands out is the preponderance of ‘hot’ titles – not just standard popular songs of the day given a jazzed-up treatment, but compositions normally associated with out-and-out jazz groups – and many of them historically associated with black bands.
Giuseppe Antonio Candullo claimed on his 1921 passport application and other official documents that he was born in New York City on November 3, 1901, the son of Sebastian Candullo and his wife.

Giuseppe quickly became Joe in the Land of Opportunity, and on leaving school he followed into his father’s profession as a barber, but his ambition was to make a career in music.
In October 1921 Joe Candullo sailed on the Cunard Line’s RMS Aquitania, sister ship of the ill-fated Lusitania, bound for England, as a member of Billy Madden’s Crescent City Orchestra. This was part of a deal brokered by Sam Laschiver, an expatriate American who managed the exclusive Rector’s Club in London on behalf of fellow Americans William F. Mitchell and Howard Elliott Booker. Mitchell and Booker also owned and ran Rector’s Club in Paris, and the Hammersmith Palais de Danse, where in 1919, the Original Dixieland Jazz Band had brought jazz to Britain, and most of the American bands they booked split their engagements between these locations, along with the Birmingham Palais de Danse. Two bands had been booked by Laschiver for the 1921 season, the other being Chris Bishop’s Serenaders, which promptly changed its name to the Paramount Six. Notable as a member of the Bishop band was drummer Billy Southard, who later became a regular fixture of the Candullo orchestra in the 1920s. American-born drummer Eddie Gross Bart recalled in an interview with me in 1980 the rivalry between the band he was then playing with, which was resident at the Hammersmith Palais, who were all Jews, and the Madden band, who were all Italians.  One night the feud developed into a fist fight, involving Italian and Jewish gangs, but commonsense prevailed and, according to Eddie, they all went off to Mrs. Meyrick’s notorious nightclub to celebrate their new-found friendship!
The Billy Madden orchestra also played at Mitchell and Booker’s Rector’s Club in Paris, and following their engagement there the orchestra, minus Madden, returned to New York in May 1922.
another orchestra which played at the Parody Club when he was out of town.

By late 1925 Candullo’s band was resident at the Everglades Restaurant, located at 203 West 48th Street, a few steps from Broadway, in the very heart of New York’s clubland and entertainment district at that time.

Candullo’s first recording session under his own name took place in late February 1926, for the dime store Harmony label. Virtually all of Candullo’s records were made for what are referred to as ‘dime store’ labels; records made on the cheap to be sold cheap. These labels, such as Harmony, Banner, Perfect, Oriole, Domino, etc., were usually poorly-recorded on antiquated recording equipment, relying on getting acceptable performances at the least number of attempts – yet another reason for using tried and trusted session men.

In September 1926, Candullo took his band for the first of three sessions made for the Edison Phonograph Company. Thomas Edison himself still had the final say on what was and what was not issued on his beloved Diamond Discs, and jazz was a pet hate of his – he is quoted as saying “I play jazz records backwards – they sound better that way” – and in comparison to rival record companies, his company’s jazz and hot dance band output was but a small percentage of the catalogue. That being said, Candullo’s output for Edison is of considerable jazz interest.