Ben Crosland Biography
Originally a guitarist and sometime drummer, Ben Crosland took up the bass in the late 70s when no one in the function band he was forming wanted to play it! He began to play jazz bass seriously when inspired by beginning a 10 year association with the Wavendon Summer Jazz Course in 1982 , firstly as a student soaking up the wisdom of the late, great Jeff Clyne and later assisting Jeff with the bass guitar students as an assistant tutor. In 1987, he became a member of the Huddersfield Jazz house band, working with Don Rendell, Ian Carr, Dick Morrissey, Bobby Wellins, Louis Stewart, Ronnie Ross and Bill Le Sage amongst many others.
In 1990, he formed his first group, a Quintet featuring guitarist Adrian Ingram and saxophonist Rod Mason. The band went on to record albums with Alan Skidmore (The Northern Run) and Steve Waterman (A Dales Day) during the 90s. Crosland also recorded an album with Ingram, Spread The Word, featuring Jim Mullen and Eryl Roberts, in 1996. In 2000, he formed an Octet featuring Skidmore, Waterman and Mark Nightingale which recorded an album, Echoes In The Valley, and toured nationally.
2000 was a busy year for Crosland: he also formed his first Quartet featuring Waterman, guitarist Stuart McCallum and drummer Dave Walsh. That band recorded two albums, Heartland and Last Flight Out, and toured nationally with Jazz Services support. In 2004, Ben formed Threeway, a chamber jazz trio, with Waterman and Steve Lodder. Threeway has recorded three albums, Conversations, Songs Of The Year and Looking Forward, Looking Back and continues to tour regularly.
In 2015, Crosland was commissioned by Marsden Jazz Festival to write a set of jazz arrangements of Ray Davies’ iconic songs. That commission led to the formation of his Ray Davies Songbook Quintet featuring Dave O’Higgins, John Etheridge, Steve Lodder and Sebastiaan de Krom. The band has recorded two Volumes of the Songbook and continues to play at clubs and festivals across the country.
In 2020, Crosland recorded Solway Stories, an album of original compositions, with Steve Waterman, Chris Allard, Steve Lodder and Dylan Howe. The album, inspired by the landscape and legends of that area of south west Scotland bordering the Solway Firth, attracted several four star reviews. In 2022, Crosland began to tour the album.
Ben has been associated with the Marsden Jazz Festival since its inception in 1992, presenting headlining concerts throughout that time featuring John Surman, Andy Sheppard, Tim Garland, Jim Hart and Dennis Rollins, amongst others. Together with Dave Tyas, he has been a member of the John Etheridge Trio North since 1999, touring annually across the north and recording the album Stitched Up in 2006. He leads a northern Quartet featuring Rod Mason, Dean Stockdale and Dave Tyas and for five years led the house band at the Keys in Huddersfield, promoting concerts featuring guests including Stan Sulzmann, Henry Lowther, Art Themen, Martin Shaw, Frank Ricotti, John Parricelli, Nikki Iles, Mike Walker, John Helliwell, Tony Kofi and Snake Davis.