Bill Crow’s column, The Band Room, has for decades been a feature of Allegro, the monthly publication of New York’s Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians. He fills it with what he is most famous for after his bass playing, anecdotes about musicians. Sometimes the stories concern well-known performers, sometimes less celebrated journeymen. It took me a couple of minutes to recover from the one that follows.
Richard Chamberlain tells me that, at a New York City Ballet rehearsal some years ago, Lester Cantor, who frequently subbed there in the bassoon section, was playing baritone sax on a set of Charles Ives pieces. The conductor, Hugo Fiorato, stopped at one point and said, “Bari sax… too much!” Lester immediately replied, “Thanks, man!” Richard says the orchestra was unable to play for several minutes. It wasn’t until intermission that Fiorato figured out what was so funny, when one of the hipper violinists explained the joke to him.