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From Birdland to Broadway : Scenes from a Jazz Life - Bill Crow

From Birdland to Broadway

Scenes from a Jazz Life

By: Bill Crow

Paperback Published: 1st January 1996
ISBN: 9780195085501
Number Of Pages: 288

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In the 1950s, New York City's Birdland was the center of the world of modern jazz--and a revelation to Bill Crow, a wet-behind-the-ears twenty-two-year-old from Washington State. Located on Broadway between 52nd and 53rd streets, the club named for the incomparable Charlie "Bird" Parker boasted lifesize photo murals of modern jazzmen like Dizzy Gillespie, Lennie Tristano, and, of course, Bird himself, looming large against jet black walls. Exotic live birds perched in cages behind the bar. The midget master of ceremonies, 3'9" Pee Wee Marquette, dressed in a zoot suit and loud tie, smoked huge cigars and screeched mispronounced introductions into the microphone. And the jazz-struck young Crow would park in the bleachers till 4 am, blissfully enveloped by the heady music of Bird, Bud Powell, Max Roach, and a host of other jazz giants.
From Birdland to Broadway is an enthralling insider's account of four decades of a life in jazz. Bill Crow, journeyman bass player, superb storyteller, and author of the successful Jazz Anecdotes, here narrates many moving and delightful tales of the pioneers of modern jazz he played with and was befriended by. We find Dizzy Gillespie, with whom Crow, because of prior commitments, regretfully declined steady work, dancing at the Royal Roost, Stan Getz sadly teetering on the brink of losing himself to drugs, and Harry Belafonte (known then as "the Cinderella Gentleman") running a lunch counter in New York's Sheridan Square between music dates. And we also witness many of the highlights of Crow's career, such as in 1955 when the Marian McPartland Trio (with Crow on bass) was named "Small Group of the Year" by Metronome; Crow playing with the Gerry Mulligan Quartet at venues like Storyville in Boston and Harlem's Apollo Theater (where they appeared with Dinah Washington); and the tour of the Soviet Union with Benny Goodman, a journey that might have been a high point of Crow's travels abroad but was marred by Goodman's legendary mistreatment of his band.
Moving beyond jazz clubs to the Broadway concert pit and a variety of studio gigs in the '60s, Crow encounters actors such as Yul Brynner and pop-rock acts like Simon and Garfunkel. From the great to the near-great, from Billie Holiday to Judy Holliday, Bill Crow's wealth of personal anecdotes takes the reader from Birdland, to the Half Note, to the Playboy Club, to the footlights of Broadway. This revealing book is a marvelous portrait of the jazz world, told by someone who's been there.

Industry Reviews

"This is really a book about the 'jazz life' more than about the music per se....These narratives are a healthy dose of stories about the jazz free-lance musicians' life and music."--Dick Weissman "In From Birdland to Broadway, Crow shares insightful anecdotes from his long career and writes in a style that's as relaxed, friendly, and straight ahead as a Mulligan baritone sax solo....He never skimps on the humorous asides and telling details. What's more, he renders most of the technical stuff, such as flugelhornist Clark Terry's method of rotary breathing, understandable to even the most unrhythmic or tonedeaf reader. Bop lives in Crow's colorful account."--Cleveland Plain Dealer "Providing some fascinating social history, [Crow] has written a book of intimate and entertaining vignettes about some modern jazz masters."--Library Journal

Birdlandp. 3
The Big Townp. 6
Home, School, and the Armyp. 10
Tacoma, Baltimore, and Washingtonp. 15
Seattlep. 20
Coast to Coastp. 26
Charlie'sp. 31
Jam Sessionsp. 36
Scufflingp. 40
Dave Lambertp. 44
Tupper Lakep. 49
More Scufflingp. 55
"The Music Goes 'Round and Around,"p. 61
West Tenth Streetp. 67
S.S. Uruguayp. 71
Gigging Aroundp. 76
Slim Gaillard, Stan Getzp. 80
Pee Wee Marquettep. 87
Papa Jop. 91
Stan the Manp. 95
Claude Thornhillp. 99
Gene Quillp. 104
Terry Gibbsp. 109
The Marian McPartland Triop. 113
Jazz Recordsp. 119
Popsie Randolphp. 122
Vic Dickensonp. 125
Birdp. 129
Gerry Mulliganp. 133
Duke Ellingtonp. 138
Garner and Monkp. 144
Pee Wee Russellp. 149
All Around Townp. 153
Dave Lambert, Last Chorusp. 159
The Gerry Mulligan Quartetp. 164
Europep. 170
Good Gigsp. 175
The Concert Jazz Bandp. 180
Judy Hollidayp. 184
The Sherwood Innp. 190
Benny Goodmanp. 195
The Half Notep. 204
Japanp. 210
Al the Waiterp. 214
Condon's, the Playboy Clubp. 220
Comediansp. 227
The Studiosp. 234
Lainie Kazanp. 238
Peter Duchinp. 243
Doubling in Brassp. 246
42nd Streetp. 250
Jazz Anecdotesp. 255
Indexp. 263
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195085501
ISBN-10: 0195085507
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 288
Published: 1st January 1996
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 21.64 x 14.12  x 1.83
Weight (kg): 0.37