The Troy Street Observer

July 9, 1904: Tasker Crosson’s Academy of Music

Tasker C. Crosson, born on this day in 1904, was an influential Boston bandleader from the early 1930s to the early 1940s, although his entire career stretched from the mid 1920s to the mid 1950s. His influence stems from his on-the-job school for a generation of Boston jazz musicians, an orchestra called the Ten Statesmen (or Twelve, or Fourteen, depending on the job). Crosson knew talent when he heard it, and was a patient teacher.

This did not always work to Mr. Crosson’s advantage, and it did not always earn him respect. Boston pianist and arranger Charlie Cox said in a mid 1980s interview that musicians around town called Crosson’s a “schoolin’ band,” where a youngster might go to learn how to read and transpose, and presumably learn how to play in a section—and then advance to a better band, like Preston Sandiford’s, or the Alabama Aces of Joe Nevils. Cox was still looking down on the Crosson outfit, saying “his band wasn’t the best…his musicians were almost amateurs.”

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Tasker Crosson and His Twelve Statesmen at Butler Hall, 1936

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