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Condon, Eddie (16 November 1905–04 August 1973), jazz personality and organizer of Chicago-style jazz bands, recording sessions, and concerts, was born Albert Edwin Condon in Goodland, Indiana, the son of John Condon, a small-town saloonkeeper, and Margaret McGrath. As a teenager, Condon played rhythmic dance band accompaniment on the tenor banjo and, once established in jazz, favored the four-string tenor guitar....

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Lansky, Meyer (28 Aug. or 4 July 1902–15 January 1983), bootlegger and gambling entrepreneur, was born Meyer Suchowljansky in Grodno, Belorussia (then Russia), the son of Max Suchowljansky, a garment presser, and Yetta (maiden name unknown). Lansky’s father emigrated to New York City in 1909 and brought the family over two years later. Meyer, who left school in 1917 at age fourteen, was fascinated by the street life and crap games of the Lower East Side and while still a teenager associated with other hustlers, such as ...

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Ventura, Charlie (02 December 1916–17 January 1992), jazz tenor saxophonist and bandleader, was born Charles Venturo in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of a hat factory owner. His parents’ names are unknown. During summer vacations from high school, Ventura apprenticed as a saddle maker. Around 1934 he acquired a C-melody saxophone. While working by day in the Philadelphia Navy Yard during the last years of the depression, he played in local night clubs. Jam sessions at the Down Beat Club brought him into contact with jazz trumpeters ...