My Crosswind Story
by Bill Radin, guitar
early 1978, I got a tip from a musician friend that Bentley's, a downtown nightclub, was looking for a band.
This was good
news, since I was looking for work. As it turns out, so were Ken,
Don and Marc, with whom I joined forces.
We called our group
"Crosswind" to describe the music we played, which came from lots of
different directions: jazz, pop and fusion.
Crosswind was the
perfect band for Bentley's, which attracted a diverse
crowd of local music fans, bar hoppers, hotel guests and
convention-goers. As time went by, we tightened up our act and
developed a loyal following.
Ron Steps It
One of our biggest
fans was singer Ron Boustead, who used to sit in with us from time
to time and hired us as his backup band for a two-week stint at a
resort in Michigan.
One Saturday night,
Ron dropped by the club and sang with such force that he practically
blew the roof off the joint. After that evening, Ron never sat in again—he was in the band
Ron gave Crosswind
unique identity and sense of purpose. As we grew more
confident and daring musically, our popularity exploded. In short order,
we morphed from an instrumental band-in-the-background to a
center-stage headliner, with powerful vocal arrangements and
original songs that connected with people in a very personal
If I could pick a
word to describe our groove, it would be happy. That's what I
felt when I came to work each night, took my spot on the stage and
counted off the tunes. Happy was when the bandstand began to rumble
beneath us and Ron's voice took flight. And happy was the
anticipation from our fans as they walked into the club, sensing
that something special was about to happen. What I loved most were
the smiles when Ken cracked a joke or Ron sang with a warmth,
virtuosity and artistic maturity well beyond his years. As each
evening came to a close, I felt incredibly fulfilled, barely able to
wait for the next night's downbeat, when our groove would ripple
through the club again.
Time for Music
Bentley's was our
anchor, a five-night-a-week gig that lasted for the better part of
four years. When we weren't playing at Bentley's, we worked at other
night spots in town, such as Shipley's, the Gatehouse Tavern, Under
Fifth, Coco's, Dollar Bill's Saloon, the Blue Wisp and countless others; and at
clubs in Louisville, Columbus and Indianapolis. Along the way, we
concerts, radio and TV appearances and an album to our resume.
Crosswind was a
product of its place and time, when five guys in a small big city could
hang out as close friends, rehearse nearly every day, make great
music and actually earn a living wage. None of us succumbed to the
dreaded day job; we were all totally in the moment. Music was our life, twenty-four/seven.
Sadly, that era is gone, a victim to hollowed-out cities,
shrunken entertainment budgets and the accessibility to cheap music downloads. For the most
part, the terms "middle-class" and
"jazz musician" have become mutually exclusive.
But our friendship
and our music remain alive, not only in our hearts—and
in the hearts of our many fans—but
in the knowledge that if you're lucky, the whole can be greater than
the sum of its parts. As a musician, I'm more skilled in my craft
than I was 30 years ago. But I'll never play more passionately than
I did in those funky but friendly jazz clubs filled with laughter,
applause and deep appreciation. And it's doubtful I'll ever find a
more selfless or honorable group of musical pals to share in the
If only everyone
could feel for just one minute what I felt those four joyful years.