Crow’s Names

The Rifftides staff is pleased that the eminent bassist, raconteur and author Bill Crow reads the blog. Among his many activities, Mr. Crow writes the Band Room column in New York AFM Local 802’s Allegro monthly publication. Every now and then he contributes a Rifftides comment. Thumbnail image for Bill Crow current.jpgBill’s latest communiqué is in response to the Freddie Schreiber item in the following exhibit. It deserves wider exposure than it might get as a comment to that piece. I have taken the liberty of removing from his list names that duplicate those on Schreiber’s. Again, these names are best read aloud and not in the presence of those who fail to understand that, contrary to conventional wisdom, puns are the highest form of humor.

Musicians have been playing the name game for a long time, and I have no idea who started it, but back in April 1983 I ran a lot of names in the fourth column I wrote for Local 802’s Allegro, using a list I had gotten from trombonist Jack Gale, and adding some of my own inventions. Jack had collected his list from the Broadway show pits, where a lot of inventive people while away the minutes between musical numbers with word games, jokes, cartoons, etc. Funny ideas travel fast around the music world, and I imagine some of these came from Freddie.
Here’s Jack’s list:
Leader: Owen Guys
Vocalist: Rachel Prejudice
Trumpets: Kenny Makit, Diz Astor, Kent Reed, Noah Count
Bones: Hy Register, Slip Shod, Willie Show
Saxes: Les Tone, Don Swing, Al Thumbs
Percussion: Phil Din, Chick Boom and Perry Diddle
Guitar: Django Bells
Banjo: Ricky Tick
Harp: Anne Dante
Organ: Page Turner
Tuba: Sue Saphon
French Horn: Belle Tone
Vibes: Hal Mallet
Violins: Vi Bratto, Fay Kerr,
Viola: Vera Sharp
Cello: Beau Braker
Harpsichord: Aaron Variations
Asst. Conductor: Justin Case
Arranger: Walt Smedley
Copyist: L. Egible
Librarian: Miss Inga Page
Manager: Hiram Cheep
Band Boy: Manuel Labor
Agent: Gig Booker
Fan Club President: Doug DeBan
The ones I thought up were:
Trumpets: Al Tayket, Val Voyle, “Miles” Awai, “Diz” Lexia
Reeds: Reed Fleichit, Harlan Nocturne, Barry DeMelody, Chu Bertalli, Buddy Ansole, Rocco Caine
Bones: Amos B. Haven, Duncan Drisordley, Axel B. Hocht, Albie Laight
Tuba: Erasmus B. Dragon
Piano: “Changes” Kahn
Guitar: Acupulco Gold
Fender Bass: Basil Affendia
Drums: Burr Rumpum
Arranger: Kent Wright
Copyist: Don DeHatch
Sound Man: Hamp LeFeyer
Manager: Noah D’Vance
Conductor: Yul C. Sordplay
Asst. Conductor: Flayling Wilder
Vocalist: Wanda Lust
The guys on NPR’s Car Talk always come up with good names for their closing credits, like the attorneys Dewey, Cheatum and Howe. It’s a great game, and I’m glad to have Freddie’s list to add to my collection.

Click and Clack, the NPR car guys, have a chauffeur name Pickup Andropov.
And that, unless a name shows up that reduces the staff to uncontrollable laughter or stunned admiration, ends this exercise in punditry.

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  1. says

    Mention of the Car Guys raises, for me, a sore point. For many years the NPR Satellite Radio feed to Europe included, each week, Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz — in the days when it was offering a new programme weekly.
    However I and I’m sure with many others, was bitterly disappointed when NPR dropped Piano Jazz, in its prime, to make space for a repeat broadcast of The Car Guys each week.Protesting failed …
    I always felt that what the car guys offered had, in any event, less international appeal than Piano Jazz and once would be enough.

  2. Colm O'sullivan says

    The German musician, Manhiem Stoned, has been overlooked…
    Also, the English pianist, Dave Newton, keeps a most hilarious list of “alternate professions” for jazz musicians on his website: (and click on “Alternative Professions” at the top margin)
    what profession the named musician looks, by appearance, most likely to be involved in if not jazz.
    I guess you have to know the English scene to benefit fully (and it is truly, powerfully sidesplitting and wonderfully funny, believe me – the uncontrollable type) – but I’ve always thought the U.S. version was either out there some where – or simply overdue.

  3. mel says

    Very good!
    How about tenor player with the Glenn Miller orchestra – the late Al Klink?
    (That was his real name. He was a superb player. — DR)