He was “a bassist like no other I have ever seen or heard in my life,” his longtime friend and musical partner Bill Meyer said in an e-mail that bounced through the Detroit jazz community and beyond Thursday morning.

Bassist Hubie Crawford had been found dead at his Westside home Wednesday evening after he failed to show up for his regular Wednesday night gig at Bert’s Marketplace with pianist Meyer and drummer Spider Web.

Meyer’s e-mail said that Hubie had died in the last day or two, possibly from a reaction to blood pressure medicine. He would have turned 62 later this month.

Crawford had been a regular with Earl Klugh‘s group for more than eight years, according to Detroit Jazz Who’s Who, and also played with Mel Torme, Buddy Montgomery, Curtis Mayfield, Mose Allison and Larry Young. But for the last seven years, he’d been an anchor of the jam sessions at Bert’s with the SBH Trio — as in Spider, Bill and Hubie.

Instrumentalists, poets and especially singers gravitated to those sessions, knowing that there’d be sympathetic backing for just about any tune they could call or any groove they could describe. “Shadow of Your Smile” — cool. “My Funny Valentine” — cool. “Song for My Father” — cool. Just something bluesy behind my poem — cool. And Crawford was there, supportive of newbies and vets alike (even supportive of a pedestrian bongo-slapper like yours truly). Of course, when it comes to his solos, he reminded everyone of the heights they could reach to hit.

“He leaves no family members, but has an endless list of friends who will miss him,” wrote Meyer. “Hubie was the gentlest, kindest and among the best loved people in the music business. You won't be able to find a person who didn't like him, who didn't think he was a most phenomenal musician. He had no enemies, and lived a modest and humble life.

“Funeral services will be announced soon. He played every Sunday at Little Rock Baptist Church on Woodward, and I'm sure once we recover a bit from this shock, there will be a musical tribute.”

Bassist Hubie Crawford backing up one of the singers who dropped by a Bert’s jam session one night in September.


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