A Birthday To Crow About

The Rifftides staff unaccountably overlooked a memo designed to alert us yesterday to an important birthday. Bill Crow, bassist, tubist, author and occasional correspondent to this blog, became 84 years old on December 27. He continues to gig on both of his instruments and to write, among other things, his Band Room column in Allegro, the newspaper of New York musicians union local 802. Now that he is 84 and one day, we wish Bill all the best now, in 2012 and for a long time thereafter.

Here is Mr. Crow in the Gerry Mulligan quartet with Art Farmer and Dave Bailey at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1958. It’s from Bert Stern’s film Jazz on a Summer’s Day. The piece is Mulligan’s “As Catch Can,” recorded the same year in the album What Is There To Say?

Asked in an exchange this morning on the Jazz West Coast listserve why all of those beautiful girls were flipping over the bass player, Mr. Crow replied, “Because he was so young and handsome.”


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  1. says

    In the days before ‘Rifftides’ I used to have Bill Crow’s Band Room as my internet ‘home page’ – staring the day with a music-flavoured smile.
    I still follow it every month as new issues appear.
    Happy Birthday + 1 from UK, Bill !

  2. Jonathan says

    I am pretty sure that Bill Crow wrote “As Catch Can.” I think in one of his books he discusses that he wrote it but allowed Mulligan to claim credit for it. All the royalties flow to him though.

    (Loved your Desmond Book.)

  3. says

    Thanks for all the birthday wishes!
    No, Gerry wrote “As Catch Can.” The tune I wrote for that quartet was “News From Blueport,” which was misattributed to Gerry as composer on the original Columbia label. Another tune, “Blueport,” was written by Art Farmer. All three titles were invented by Gerry.

  4. mel says

    Many happy returns, Mr. Crow!

    I hope you will continue to write your priceless Band Room column for a very long time to come.

  5. says

    I am delighted to join in the wishes for Bill, Mulligan being a main man I’ve heard a lot of him but surely nothing better than the groove he and Mel Lewis set up on my all time favourite “Blueport”. Wonderful. Congratulations on all your work Bill.

  6. brian turner says

    Many talents to crow about in this man-really enjoy his jazz humour book, and in general his many contributions to the music.

  7. brian turner says

    I should have mentioned the humour book’s title: “Jazz Anecdotes”, Oxford Press..not all humour, but all human.