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Friday, August 19, 2011

Bill Croft Tracked Down!

Dawn wasn't far off when I decided to head for bed last night - a bit like the old days really. After a marathon Google session I'd finally picked up Bill's trail and with a few more hours this morning more details came to light.
Bill is in Brisbane, he's still playing and has extended his expertise from clarinet and alto to include tenor sax. I picked up four references to him which provide a sketchy outline of his musical life over the last twenty years.
From 1993 to 2001 he played in Brisbane's Caxton Street Jazz Band and it's "Jazztette" - a smaller "band within the band" presumably designed for smaller venues and to give the trumpet and trombone players a rest. There are an awful lot of Bill Crofts in the world and the Caxton Steet Jazztette photo here was the breakthrough that proved I was tracking the right man. He's unmistakable.
In 2006 he was playing Sunday nights at Maggie Black's, a jazz restaurant, with the Bill Croft Five Stars (shades of the Blue Star Band). Incidentally Maggie seems to have had a fascinating life following her twin passions of cooking and jazz around the world via just about every continent and including Whitley Bay! Look up her "My weekly blog - travels and jazz" on Google - it's an eye opener.
In 2011 Bill was reported playing in the Brisbane Jazz Club with "Mike Ross and Friends", which seems to be an occasional scratch band, and two months ago in the June issue of the Noosa Heads Jazz Club "Musletter" (great title that) there's a piece advertising a forthcoming event featuring "Jo's Boys" with a photo that includes Bill on clarinet & sax. In the event Bill didn't make the gig, the July Musletter did a review of it and the clarinet player was Paul Williams. Let's hope that whatever prevented Bill being there didn't keep him away long.
Jef Robinson.

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