[Dixielandjazz] Bob Crosby Leadership

Bill Haesler bhaesler at bigpond.net.au
Sat Jun 25 17:29:40 PDT 2011

Marek Boym wrote:
> I have the feeling that Geraldine knows the short answer. But, probably like yours truly, she has read that he fronted the band, but the band remained a cooperative unit.  So the question "when and how did Bob become the actual owner/leader"still remains.

Dear Marek,
Thank you.
I should have read Geraldine's last line more carefully before impulsively jumping in with the wrong answer to her question: 
"When and how did Bob become the actual owner/leader instead of just another hired hand?"
Another short answer. 
Bob Crosby never did become the "actual owner/leader" of the cooperative band.
The famous one we all know and love. 
Nor was he a "another hired hand". 
He was a member of the corporation, along with Gil Rodin, Ray Bauduc, Eddie Miller, Yank Lawson, Matty Matlock, Nappy Lamare, Dean Kincaide and Bob Haggart.
When WWII became a reality for the US in December 1941, it played havoc with the personnel of all bands and the 'Bob Crosby's orchestra was no exception.
When Gi Rodin and Ray Bauduc enlisted in September 1942 the real leader of the band and one of its key members had gone and the corporation decided to break up.  
Eddie Miller was delegated to look after the band and what was left of it, plus replacements, made a 'farewell' tour in December 1942.
However, Bob Crosby had organised a contract with MGM, and other work, and the other members had gone home to their families. Eddie Miller formed his own big band. 
While still waiting to be called up, Bob Crosby was persuaded to 'front' pick-up bands. Not all 'dixieland'. 
He and Eddie Miller were not drafted until March 1944.
After the war, Bob Crosby organised other bands, including frequent 'reunions' utilising the core musicians from the original band.
But that's another story. 
Kind regards,

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