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Remembering Bucky Calabrese

Discussion in 'Bassists [DB]' started by gerry grable, Dec 7, 2011.

  1. gerry grable

    gerry grable Supporting Member

    Nov 9, 2010
    He wasn’t what we call famous or a big name, just a good steady bass player. He didn’t make any earth-shaking innovations or appear on any Downbeat or Playboy jazz polls. But he was enormously influential on me, and probably most of the bassists that were gigging around NYC from the early 60s through 70s into the late 80s, and even the early 90s. Bucky was to bass players as Louie (the TV show Taxi) was to taxi drivers. He was the dispatcher, the “mother hen” of bass players. He had the list, and anyone who needed a bass player called Bucky first. Of course this meant that he had first pick of the jobs for himself , so he obviously had as much work as he needed or wanted. However, it is what he did with the excess jobs that made him so influential.. He was one of the nicest, giving, most unselfish guys I’ve ever known. He never let a job go to waste. He shared his list with everyone from bar owners and booking agents to band leaders. From club dates to record dates, great gigs to lousy rent-payers. He never tried to ”save” or hoard jobs. If he liked how you played you were in.
    I first met Bucky at a jazz bar in Brooklyn called Da Wabbit. They had open sessions on certain nights and I, just in from KC, sat in for a few tunes. Later, at the bar, a guy asked me for my phone number. I thought nothing of it, but the next day I got a call from Bucky.
    From then on . . .well, that’s a long boring story. But I’m sure a lot of guys feel the same as I.
    Thank you, Bucky and RIP.
  2. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    I knew Bucky from my days at the 54th St incarnation of Eddie Condon's-he was a fine bass player and a true mensch.
  3. Marshall Zucker

    Marshall Zucker

    Jan 13, 2017
    Mr. Calabrese played at my Bar Mitzvah party along with Sol Yaged, Sam Ulano, Dave Martin, and my Vibes Teacher Mike Manne. After all i've heard about him I feel greatly honored.

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