My monthly trip to the jazz section in one of the better-known bookstores was quite productive last week. Fascinated with jazz trivia, I came across "Jazz Anecdotes" by bassist and writer, Bill Crow, 1990 Oxford University Press.
Not many jazz enthusiasts would be disappointed with the delightful vignettes Crow has gathered from various interviews, biographies, autobiographies and the collection of oral histories compiled by the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers. More than an insightful look into the personalities and humor of the giants of jazz, Crow delights the reader with a verbal photograph of their humorous camaraderie. As Crow states, "most jazz musicians are good laughers. If you want to play jazz for a living you either learn to laugh or you cry a lot." As a bass player, Crow knows what it's like, and the tales jazz players pass on to one another are the stuff legends are made of.
The banter is laughable throughout the entire 350 pages with cutting contests, goofs, pranks and put-ons. From King Oliver to Miles Davis, from sideman to leader, Jazz Anecdotes
spans 70 years of outrageous little tales about jazz musicians, their agents, club owners, hiring, firing, inventions, radio gigs and long forgotten jazz clubsùa perfect, entertaining little book to brighten the day of any jazz fan or musician.
The author, Bill Crow, is a free-lance musician and writer. He is the author of From Birdland to Broadway
and his articles and reviews have appeared in Downbeat
, The Jazz Review
and Gene Lee's Jazzletter
.More than an insightful look into the personalities and humor of the giants of jazz, author Bill Crow delights the reader with a verbal photograph of their humorous camaraderie.