Bill Crow’s Band Room

Volume CX, No. 6June, 2010

Bill Crow

David Lucas, who now lives in Boca Raton, sent me this one. In the late 1960’s, Dave and Mike Abene went to the Metropole to hear Maynard Ferguson’s band. Mike had been in Maynard’s youth band. On the break, Dave and Mike went across the street to the Copper Rail, where many musicians hung out. A man was hunched over the bar who they recognized as Coleman Hawkins. They went over to say hello, and Mike asked, “Hawk, have you been across the street to hear Maynard?” Without looking up from his drink, Hawkins replied, “I don’t have to go across the street to hear Maynard.”

In a van on the way to a Mingus Band gig, tenor player Seamus Blake said to baritone saxophonist Scott Robinson, “Man, you played a double high A in your solo last week… I couldn’t believe that!” Scott laughed and said, “Well, I don’t think it did anything for my career.” Pianist Dave Kikoski chimed in: “It was over their heads!”

Kenny Rampton told me about a recording session with Dave Matthews and the Manhattan Jazz Orchestra. After everyone in the band had told the engineer what they needed to hear in their headphone mix, Scott Robinson waited until it was quiet. Then he leaned into his microphone and said, “Can I get a little more of me in everyone else’s cans?”

Kenny Berger told me that a fellow arranger once asked Manny Albam how much Woody Herman paid for a chart. Manny replied, “Usually around three bills. Two tens and a five.”

Pete Hyde tells me that the great lead trumpeter Conrad Gozzo’s only music teacher was his father, Jimmy. When Conrad was with Woody Herman’s band, they played a date in his home town, Hartford, Connecticut, and his father came to hear him. When Goz got off the stand, he asked his father how he liked the music. Jimmy said, “You forgot everything I taught you!” In later years, though, Jimmy’s pride was evident when he put a placard in the window of his house in New Britain, Connecticut: “Teacher and father of Conrad Gozzo, First Trumpet on the Dinah Shore TV Program.”

John Campo told me a story he got from the late Jimmy Abato. When Jimmy was with Glenn Miller, they played a ballroom where there were two bands. Jimmy walked in while the other band was playing, and he said the young clarinet player with them sounded so good that he send home for his exercise books. The kid clarinetist was Buddy DeFranco.

This was sent to me by George Young, who got it from a drummer friend. (This is a partial list.)


  • Brings a 26-inch bass drum to the gig: $25
  • Has more than one bass drum: $100
  • Brings an 8-inch deep snare (“for a solid back beat”): $50
  • Brings more than two mounted toms: $25
  • Has a tubular chrome bar for mounted toms: $50
  • Brings more than one floor tom: $25
  • Uses extra floor tom for ashtray/drink holder: $75
  • Brings more than two crash cymbals: $25
  • Doesn’t bring a ride cymbal: $250
  • Brings a Chinese gong (“for big ending”): automatic dismissal
  • Brings two timpani (“for bigger ending”): automatic dismissal
  • Brings extra splashes (“just in case”): $25 each
  • Doesn’t own any brushes: $300
  • Owns brushes but can’t play them: $500
  • Has an extra hi-hat always partially open: $250
  • Asks leader where he can plug in his headphones: $200
  • Asks guitarist for help with unloading drums: $150
  • Wears dirty white Nike sneakers on tux gig: $50
  • Tunes snare drum during the benediction: $175
  • Retunes snare drum during buyer’s speech: $100
  • Is first in line at the party’s buffet: $50
  • Asks where the “to-go bags” are at the buffet line: $100
  • Asks the bartender for three “purple shooters”: $50
  • Says to the bride, “You’ve got a nice set of hooters”: $125
  • Says to brides mother, “This is a great f—in’ party”: $150
  • Is 10 minutes late for the next set: $25
  • Is 20 minutes late for the next set: $10
  • Never shows up for the next set: $0
  • Excessive sweating: $500
  • Hits on singer’s girlfriend: $500
  • Hits on club owner’s wife: automatic dismissal.
  • Brings a mega kit to a multi-band gig: $100
  • Breaks that kit down on stage after the set: $250

  • Asks bassist to move rig for third floor tom: $50
  • Extra logo stickers on bass drum head: $75 each

  • Uses stick holders: $10

  • Wears drumming shoes: $100

  • Wears drumming gloves: automatic dismissal
  • Brings double kick pedals: that night’s pay