Sunday, January 13, 2013

Been a long time

I started this blog at the beginning of 2008, shortly after the release of my first CD, and really with the intention of having something interesting to say from time to time. So, as I approach the time of my emancipation from a career in government IT, and anticipate returning to the world of the full time minstrel - many thoughts pass by.

I will attempt to capture some of them and put them here, kicking and screaming - some song ideas - project ideas - travels - who knows?

Later today, my wife and I plan an excursion to Cedar Key to catch MoonDog at the Big Deck Raw Bar. We shall see what happens next.

Love to all

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Getting Back to Plan A

Edgy Blues – Americana Country – Florida Rock

Jim Crozier's Occasional Newsletter - June 2010

First, I want to thank all of you who have mentioned enjoying receiving this newsletter, and the several first time subscribers – I will do my best to make this worth the read. I am excited to try on the attitude of the student this year – not attending school, but taking great joy in the study of American Popular Music. After 40 some years of primarily being a bass player that wrote a few songs, I am now trying to write a little bit every day, play my guitar every day, sing every day, and learn songs from the Great American Songbook – quite a different thing from just playing the bass part. Don't get me wrong, I love playing the bass, and you will find me about still playing with lots of folks, but now, for the first time since I was in High School, I am “Getting Back to Plan A”! My new show features my original songs, of course, along with a lot of great songs dating from last week to last century.

Where I'm Playing:

For the summer, I am scheduled to bring my new show to the porch at Barnacle Bill's, “You Know Where”, on North Monroe Street in Tallahassee. My first date there is Saturday, June 26 from 7 to 10pm, and back again on Friday, July 9.

I will also be playing a solo set at Star Seas (the Caboose at Railroad Square) sometime on Saturday, June 19 as part of the Railroad Square Summer Solstice Festival which is also a benefit for FSU Radio Station V89 (that I have been listening to a whole bunch lately).

Other things coming up include:

Sentimental Journey at the Fermentation Lounge on Monday, June 7 from 9 to 11pm. Sentimental Journey plays “string band Americana” with Brian Smith on Guitar, Chip Bloyd on Harmonica, Dave Dickle on Mandolin, and Jim Crozier on Bass. The Fermentation Lounge is at 113 All Saints Street in Tallahassee and features craft beer from artisan breweries around the world.

I will be playing with Tallahassee Swing at the American Legion Hall (Lake Ella) for the Tuesday night dance on June 1, June 15, and June 29.

And what I have heard lately:

I got a chance to hear Carrie Hamby with the fabulous Walter Belmont at Verona Cafe just the other day – a treat by any other name – old blues that you are just not going to hear any other way.

I visited Cheap & Easy at the new Rusty Bucket (the sign says “Boxers”) - you can really tell that Bob and Naomi have spent some serious time playing together for a long while – worth the trip.

Mike Lanigan totally raised the quality bar at Ouzts' Too this past Sunday with his “Swingin' Harpoon Band”. I finally got to hear “Bedhead Betty” for the first time last weekend, too.

And last month I got to hear Gurf Morlix at the Frog and Hummingbird down in Sopchoppy.

Also, I recently sat in with Jimi McKenzie at Los Amigos (in Woodville), with Mary Z Cox and Yazid at the Mockingbird for the CD release party for “Drumming on the Edge of Banjo”, and with the Zach Bartholomew Trio at the Fermentation Lounge.

Well that seems to be plenty for now. I look forward to seeing you about town – and ya'll be wonderful.


Jim Crozier!/pages/Jim-Crozier/30430640034?ref=ts


(C)2010, JacroMusic,

Thursday, March 18, 2010

New project

My wife must have had some time on her hands yesterday. She seldom surfs the web, but somehow she noticed (and emailed me about it) that my blog was out of date - true that.

So this year - 2010 - I am stepping back, studying the music business and songwriting, and working on my solo presentation. After being everyone's bass player for over 30 years, I am stepping to the front of the stage - not so much because I want to be there, but I do need to know how - and there ain't no other way to learn but to do it!

I look forward to producing more shows with my band, but I need to get the solo thing down and spend more quality time on the songwriting gig - it is going well.

SO, please come out to visit me at What?Cafe on April 17th from 8 to 11. I did a presentation there on March 13, and I plan to do one a month for the next few months - it is good school for me and I do hope you will join me. I promise to be bringing out some new stuff every time, both my own, and from other writers.


PS: What?Cafe is on Sharer Rd between Movies 8 and Chucky Cheeze in Tallahassee.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Jim Crozier & Mimi Hearn join forces for show!

On Friday, November 6, at the Warehouse, Mimi Hearn and Jim Crozier will bring their bands together for the first time.

After years of playing and singing in everyone else's ensembles, the two band leaders bring you their Edgy Blues, Americana Country, and Florida Rock with a few standards and lots of originals from Mimi, Jim, Frank Graham, Jimi McKenzie, and TD & Kathi Giddings.

"Mimi and the Hearndogs" feature Mike Palecki on harmonicas, Mike Snelling on upright bass, Frank Graham on guitars.

"The Jim Crozier Band" features the "Summit Ladies Choir" with Deborah Lawson, Kathi Giddings, Katie Crozier, and introduces Lisa Rhoads on this occasion. The band brings Bill Landing on sax, Jimi McKenzie and TD Giddings on guitars, Jim on bass, and Bob Weiss on harps and percussion. Everybody sings!

Drummer Steve Redmond is playing with both bands.

"It was Mike Palecki's idea," said Jim, "so when I was putting the show together, I gave Mimi a call, and it worked out." The Hearndogs will open, followed by the JC Band. The last set will have everyone playing together until it's time to go!


The Jim Crozier Band

with the Summit Ladies Choir


Mimi and the Hearndogs

Friday, November 6, 8pm

at the Warehouse

W Gaines St, Tallahassee

$5 - cheap

You may need to access the parking lot from Gay St via Madison St due to construction on Gaines St.

Jim Crozier

(C)2009, JacroMusic,

Sunday, July 12, 2009

1001 Nights and Cats In Orbit

Edgy Blues, Americana Country, Florida Rock
Jim Crozier's Occasional Newsletter
July 2009

1001 Nights
As most of you know, I play with Tallahassee Swing, so it is with pleasure that I announce that July 21st will be the 20th Anniversary of Tallahassee Swing's Tuesday Night Dance at the American Legion Hall. When you do the math, taking into consideration that we usually take a couple weeks off around Christmas, that comes out to 1001 Nights. Come by for this special event from 7:30 to 10:00. $7 – cheap!
AND come on out every Tuesday evening from 7:30 to 10. I will be playing bass with them on July 14 & 21 and August 11 & 25.

Cats In Orbit is back on August 15th
Cats In Orbit is Jimi McKenzie, Steve Redmond, and me. We will be at Hammaknockers in Panacea opening Rick Ott's “From the Heart” live variety show. Things usually get started around 8:30.

I got out to hear some music the other day.
I caught Grant Peeples' CD release show for “Pawnshop”. Grant was backed by Lis & Lon Williamson, Kelly Goddard, Dave Johnson, and Kurt Johnston which really made for a magic evening. The New 76ers opened the show, setting things off right.
I also got to catch the Charles Atkins band at Chez Pierre. It was the first time I had heard Charles with his current band: Lois Hinners, Adam Gaffney, and Deb "Sweetgoove" Berlinger.
I appreciated a different take on the blues from The Trigger Happy Band with Bodega Bob Homme, Rev. Hollywood Archie Hinton and Naomi "Sugar" Harris, at the Down Below.
And, I was totally blown away by The Humbell at Bird's Aphrodisiac Oyster Shack – I don't know much about them but they can damn sure put on a Rock & Roll Show.

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Jim Crozier
(C)2009, JacroMusic,

Thursday, May 7, 2009

That Taxi Gig

That Taxi Gig     - Jim Crozier

It was one of those days that I woke around noon and checked my pockets, "Nope, not enough money for dinner today, gotta go to work."

That meant a walk from Bleecker and Laguardia to 4th Street to take the "A train". If I had a dollar more than a subway token, I would stop and get a falafel sandwich and a cup of coffee on the way. From the Columbus Circle station it was two long blocks and a bit more to West 61st between 10th and 11th Avenue. There I would turn in my "picture" (what we called the hack license), hang out with my buddies, and wait for the dispatcher to give me a car. The cars would start coming in off the day shift starting around 3:30, so if my bookings had been OK lately I could usually get out around 4pm. One never knew who would be at the shape-up from one day to the next. There was Larry the photographer, Eric the songwriter and personal assistant to a somewhat successful playwrite, and Mac the composer. And, I would occasionally do some work with the some of the other various musicians and actors that might be there.

One of these was Gary, my home town rock & roll buddy who had come to New York with the same show I had. After my first stint with Ann Service Company, a Checker fleet, he had suggested that I come over to work with him at Dalk Service Company. That garage had a much hipper shape-up. The business was owned by a bunch of Irish guys that ran a fleet of stock Dodge Coronets. While the Checkers had clear advantages - some folks would hold out for a Checker because of the roomy passenger compartment, they were a tad narrower than most cars (an advantage in tight traffic), they were higher up giving you a good view, and the gearing was such that they were really hot off the line - but the front end was way too flimsy for the beating they got on the New York City Streets; so it didn't have to be in service very long before driving it on the expressway, or even Central Park Drive was way too thrilling - like, "Let's see you keep it on the road through this turn". The stock Dodge had none of those advantages, but that slant six was nearly indestructible, and they still handled OK long after the shocks and front-end alignment had become distant memories.

From the satellite photo, it looks like the building is still there - a low, concrete, block-through building. We entered from West 61st Street, through the garage door - there was no other door in this wall, and this door was never closed, probably didn't have a door to close. About 20 feet in and around to the left was the dispatcher's window, the window ledge was just about eye level for me - they dug on the intimidation thing. Here I would hand in my picture and watch him put it in the stack - He was always shuffling them around. It is really quite amazing how he would nearly always have something to say about your last night out, and he would always get in some comment including the phrase "get those bookings up." Once I was bawled out for poking a hole in the dashboard for my pen. Every other car in the fleet had such a hole but the day guy complained that I had destroyed his new car.

Stepping back from the window was the open shape-up area, which went on about 60 feet back. There was a wooden bench or two, and a high desk where you could figure up your book before you turned in the money. Right beside this area, was a row of gas pumps and some overhead oil and coolant dispensers, four stations in all. The cars would come in off 61st at a full 15 miles per hour and pull down to the last available pump. The driver grabs his bag and gets out while the pump jockeys get to work. Meanwhile, someone from the herd is called to the window, handed his picture with a trip sheet, and heads for the car. A minute later, that car was exiting the door on 60th Street and was back in business. Of course, you might think that this would be a non-smoking area, and you might be wrong.

There probably were a couple black drivers, but I am sure that they had gone to college, so were more like us guys, there was a girl or two, as well, "tough chicks!" But, the garage staff was all black. They were mostly OK, but they didn't take "No Shit!". I got one of the mechanics mad at me once, which was a very stupid thing to do, his buddies had to drag him back while he was opening his knife yelling; "I'm going to cut you - motherfucker!"

In those days, early to mid 70's, the drop was 60 cents, and it was 60 cents per mile and 10 cents per minute of standing time. The drop is what they call the that number that comes up when you start the meter, and the mile is divided into increments of a dime. We were all AFL/CIO members and worked on commission plus tips, 49% after 6 months. Generally you would get out with a car at a decent hour if your trip sheet averaged $60 per night - a few nights in the forties, and you would find that your shape-up got longer, and it might just come to pass that they didn't have a car for you - very few guys ever actually got fired. While I was in the city doing the taxi gig, the fare went up a dime, the city went bankrupt, and the shape-up went from 1 hour to 3 hours because all the laid off cops and firemen were a whole lot hungrier than most of us artist types. 

So, your commission after taxes and union dues ended up yielding about $20 per day paid bi-weekly, and $20 was an OK night in tips, as well. That came down to about four dollars per hour, at a time when minimum wage two. I knew some guys that made good money on the gig - and there were lots of scams you could run. By the time a fleet was a few months old, wires to the roof light on most of the cars would have been cut, so you could turn it off even if the meter wasn't running - the only time I ever tried to run "off the meter" I got busted by the Taxi and Limousine Commission, so I found it not worth the trouble - but some guys were really good at it. The TLC would hire these sleaze ball goons to drive around in beat up cars, or even gypsy cabs, looking to bust the Taxi drivers of an infraction of the various rules - running off the meter was the biggie, and refusing a fare was another. The fare on an out of town trip was double the meter - which offered endless opportunities for mischief, for both driver and owner. And, I even knew one guy who sold guns out of his cab.

This was pure hacking and only the medallion-ed, yellow taxi cab driver is allowed to do it. Some of the owner-drivers would sign up with a radio dispatch service, but the fleet cabs had no radio. The business is strictly a matter of putting your car where someone wants a cab. In general, the game is to get as many short trips as possible in as little of time as possible. When things were hopping, it was really bad luck to stop - the trick was to stay in the area where it was busy, and not get dragged up town or out to the boroughs. Since it was against the rules to refuse a fare, the only way to avoid picking up someone you didn't want was to "not see him".

I got really good at sweeping the avenues, but that game was not available until after rush hour. On a Monday night in August, there would be 17 cabs racing down 7th Avenue, trying to be the first one to get to the one person between 42nd and the Village that might need a cab at this moment. In general, the lights were timed at 35 mph, but some of them changed a little late. I got good at claiming a lot of space in front of me, and knowing which lights changed late - the trick is to be moving at 20 mph while the rest of them were standing still on the line - that would give me both sides of the avenue for at least a few blocks before I would have to pick a side to defend. One of the other principle tactics when you had to take a side, was to hold the guy in the outside lane so that he had to stop behind a bus or a double-parked service vehicle. That's how the race was run.

It was like:
He's racing down the Avenue, trying to find a fare,
He's heading for the Village, he thinks there's one down there, 
He knows every red light, when it's green, 
He's the fastest thing on four wheels, 
He's a night time  New York taxi driving man.

(C)2009, JacroMusic

Monday, April 6, 2009

Edgy Blues, Americana Country, Florida Rock

Jim Crozier's Occasional Newsletter

April 2009 supplement

Upcoming shows:

Dear friends,

It seems that I left out a couple important events in my last correspondence, also a couple new events have come up – thus, this April 2009 supplement.

I will be playing with Sentimental Journey on April 16 at the Museum of Florida History, at the R A Gray Building, for their monthly Third Thursday event. We will be playing from 5pm to 7pm, so please drop by, have a listen, take a look at the museum, and for a couple bucks, have some fine refreshment, with beer or wine if you like. Sentimental Journey is an acoustic band playing music from the Great American Songbook with Chip Bloyd on lead harmonica, Brian Smith on guitar, Dave Dickle on mandolin and guitar, and Jim Crozier on bass. We will also be at the Miccosukee Land Co-Op for their annual Spring Festival on Saturday, May 2.

The Jim Crozier Band has been invited to join many great Tallahassee Musicians at the big Earth Day Jam at Bradfordville Blues Club on Saturday, April 18. Learn about the event at . Jimi McKenzie and TD & Kathi Giddings will be with me – and a few more folks will be joining us, too!

I will be playing with Tallahassee Swing for the Knott House Street Dance at 7pm, Saturday, April 25.

The next big Jim Crozier Band show will take place at the American Legion Hall, Lake Ella, on Friday, June 26. I will be back with lots of my friends and at least a couple new songs. This show will feature; Alvin James and the Pretty Big Band with help from the Jones Brothers, the Summit Ladies Choir, and the Bone Dry Band. More about this later!

For any of you folks who might be attending the annual Silver Stars Banquet at the University Center on April 30, I will be joining Steve Sternberg and the band for that gala affair.


Every Tuesday - Be sure to check out Tallahassee Swing every chance you get. The band plays at the American Legion Hall (Lake Ella Drive, Tallahassee) every Tuesday evening from 7:30 to 10 (and has been for coming up on 20 years now). I will be playing bass with them on April 14 and 28.

Recent Events:

Will Barrow dropped in from Nashville to do a songwriter show with the Harvest Gypsies a couple weeks ago. It was wonderful to see him again – we had played together some back in the early 80's – and it was particularly fun to hear him singing his own songs, and Rick, Eddie, Fred, and Art did a fine job backing him up for a set, it was totally worth the trip!.