Dancing In F. A Cognac For Albam

Here are a couple of anecdotes from Bill Crow’s “Band Room” column in the October Allegro, the New York Local 802 newspaper of the American Federation of Musicians.

Ron Mills, while fronting a combo at a dance in Chicago, was approached by a couple of dancers. The husband asked, with an earnest look, “Do you play a lot of songs in the key of F. That’s the key I dance best to.” The wife nodded in agreement. As the night progressed, Ron couldn’t see any difference in their dancing whether the band was in F or D-flat, but he scrupulously announced the key whenever they were in F, and the couple eagerly took the floor on those tunes.

I’d forgotten that I gave Bill this one.

Reminiscing with me via e-mail about the late Manny Albam, Doug Ramsey told me:

We met by chance one night at the Village Vanguard because the joint was full, and Max Gordon installed me at Manny’s table. I bought Manny a drink. Years later, in California, I wound up at a table with Manny, Bob Brookmeyer, Herb Geller, and their wives, and Bill Perkins. It had been at least 15 years since I’d seen Manny, but he remembered me. “You bought me a cognac,” he said. “I’ve never forgotten that. Nobody ever buys me a drink.”

For more from Bill’s “Band Room” columns, click here, then on “Allegro” for a drop-down menu.

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  1. says

    Bill Crow himself is a gem of both wit and substance. His endless supply of anecdotes, swift comebacks, wisecracks and punchlines–his rich store of memories and blessed lifelong encounters leading to stories–could almost make you believe he CAN teleport himself anywhere, and has. I believe he merits his own category and broader-use neologism (is that the word?)–as in: Why, that’s almost a “Crow-Magnum”… or: Have you heard the latest “Crowker”? Better yet, an award called, and with trophy so shaped, “The Crow’s Bill.”

    Or maybe a Jazz-anecdote rating scale: You got your ordinary, not-too-funny stories; those are basic “Bills”… while more uproarious jokes and tales are “Double Bills,” and the rare, great, definitive, defining ones then could be “Triple Bills.”

    I’m sure other folks can dream up something more appropriate. I think we can agree that the man exceeds bassic recognition.

    • Rubén González says

      “… I think we can agree that the man exceeds bassic recognition.”

      Amen, Ed, amen.