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In the course of his long career as a bassist, Bill Crow has rubbed elbows with such luminaries as Gerry Mulligan, Marian McPartland, Stan Getz, and Duke Ellington (who coached him through a one-nighter by pointing to the appropriate notes on his keyboard a half-beat before they were played by the orchestra). Still, Crow's vantage point is largely that of a supporting player, bouncing from gig to gig and trimming his style to fit the circumstances. Luckily for us, he's written it all down in From Birdland to Broadway, which is both a spirited account of the freelancer's hand-to-mouth existence and a portrait gallery of Crow's exalted employers. The Seattle native arrived in Manhattan in 1950 with a valve trombone, which he later exchanged for a string bass. He began his jazz education at Birdland--then a kind of world headquarters for bop and progressive swing masters--and went on to play in trios, quartets, big bands, and Broadway pit orchestras (including an eight-year run with 42nd Street). Crow's account of this musical odyssey is a delight: modest, specific, and packed with low-key comedy.

Bassist Crow follows up Jazz Anecdotes , his breezy collection of tales about colleagues he encountered in his 40-year career as a performer, with this spirited and affectionate memoir. A native of Seattle, Crow was a valve trombonist when he came to New York City in 1950 as a jazz-mad 22-year-old; he switched to bass for a gig in the Adirondacks, a job so hastily arranged that he had to hitchhike there with an equally penniless friend whose knowledge of Greek won the sympathy of Greek cooks at eateries en route. With similar color Crow recounts his "scuffling" from bar to union hall, from one apartment (and roommate) to the next in an attempt to make ends meet. As his career picked up, he played with everyone from Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman and Dinah Washington to Simon and Garfunkel. Crow's enthusiastic reminiscences, relayed with a musician's sure pacing, vivify an era. " Please click here to ask a question
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  • Seller location: Wellington City, Wellington, NZ

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