In the early '40s Eddie Phyfe played drums in a teen-age traditional jazz band in Westchester County. Several years later he was hired for his "first real pro job" by the late Eddie Condon, guitarist and incurable wise guy, who concluded the verbal contract with, "Oh, by the way, Phyfe, wear shoes."
The intervening years have carried the Washington-based drummer to international fame, and the roster of those he has kept time for includes Sidney Bechet, Lester Young, Billie Holiday and Stan Getz. He even sat in for the legendary Baby Dodds in jazz pioneer Bunk Johnson's band.
A Buddy Rich lookalike ("He's trying desperately to look like me," quips Phyfe), the Glen Echo resident writes musical comedy with Pat McCormick, is familiar to TV viewers for appearances a few years ago with comedian Mark Russell, and of late has been producing local performances of such world-traveling musicians as Wild Bill Davison, Al Cohn and Billy Butterfield. Keeping his hands in as a working musician, Phyfe heads the trio that backs up these visiting luminaries. That rhythm section, The Eddie Phyfe Three, is currently in residence at Smithson's in the Capital Holiday Inn at Sixth and C Streets SW, Mondays through Fridays, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.