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Bing & Gary Crosby

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Biography

b. 26 January 1955, London, England. Born in London of Jamaican parents, and nephew of the unjustly-neglected guitarist Ernest Ranglin, Crosby was (along with a few others, like the fine tenor saxophonist Ray Carless) one of the pioneer black British jazz talents, making his reputation before the scene blossomed so dramatically in the mid-80s. He began to study trumpet at the age of 13, although he had played around on various other instruments at home. He took trumpet lessons at a community centre in Fulham for a couple of years, but subsequently switched to bass, studying with Peter Ind between the ages of 19 and 23. His first gig was with Ed Bentley alongside Carless. Later on, he was an original member of the Jazz Warriors. He then established a group of his own designed to give young musicians space for a year or two so they can develop themselves, strike out on their own and be replaced by other young musicians, generally from the Jazz Warriors circle. The band played regular sessions at London’s Jazz Café. Crosby’s most notable group, Jazz Jamaica, was formed in 1991. Inspired by the rhythms of traditional Jamaican music and the largely improvisational nature of jazz, Crosby enrolled a number of talented young musicians from the jazz and reggae circuits to play his skazz (ska/jazz) music. The group has remained a highly popular live attraction into the new millennium, in addition to recording a number of well-received albums, latterly on Crosby and partner Janine Irons’ Dune label. Like most bass players Crosby gets far less of the limelight than the saxophonists, pianists and drummers, and certainly far less than his talent deserves. An excellent, thoroughly dependable bass player, he has worked with, amongst many others, Steve Williamson and John Stevens.

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