Crow, Bill (actually, William Orval)

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Crow, Bill (actually, William Orval)

Crow, Bill (actually, William Orval) , jazz bassist, author, tuba player; b. Othello, Wash., Dec. 27, 1927. His mother sang professionally on Seattle Radio in the 1930s. He first played trumpet, then switched to drums and valve trombone, working in army bands in the 1940s. After leaving the army, he continued to work in the Seattle area before taking up bass in 1950, the same year he moved to N.Y. Throughout his long career, he has played in the big bands of Claude Thornhill, Gerry Mulligan, and Benny Goodman, as well as in small groups including the Stan Getz Quintet, Gene DiNovi Trio, Marian McPartland Trio, Gerry Mulligan Sextet and Quartet, Al Cohn and Zoot Sims Quintet, Bob Brookmeyer and Clark Terry Quintet, Jay and Kai, and the Terry Gibbs quartet. He toured Europe and Japan with Mulligan during the 1950s and 1960s; he played with the Goodman band at the Seattle World’s Fair and during Goodman’s Russian tour (1962); he later served as a member of the house bands at Eddie Condon’s and at the Playboy Club, both in N.Y During the 1970s and 1980s, Crow played Broadway shows, including The King and I and 42nd Street, doubling on string bass and tuba. He is currently an active freelancer in N.Y., playing clubs, concerts, jazz cruises, and festivals. He has been a featured sideman on many jazz recordings. He has recorded two albums with his own quartet. He is also the author of two books and writes articles and reviews for jazz magazines, and liner notes for record albums.


From Birdland to Broadway (1996); Jazz Anecdotes (1997).


Jazz Anecdotes (N Y., 1990); From Birdland to Broadway (N.Y, 1992).

—Lewis Porter