Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Bastien, Biddy (Ovid Bastien)

Bastien, Biddy [Ovid Bastien], bass. Best known member of the family, known nationally for work with Gene Krupa band etc. His relatives are Robert Anthony "Tony" Bastien: born in Little Falls MN, 1917. He played clarinet and tenor saxophone. Graduated from Stillwater (MN) High in 1935, moved to Twin Cities and immediately caught on as a working musician (mostly jazz). Participated in after-hours jam sessions with Jo Jones, Lester Young, Rook Ganz and his older brother, Biddy, in Minneapolis in 1934, 1935, 1936.

Worked with Sonny Dunham, Claude Thornhill, Vaughn Monroe prior to WWII. Joined WCCO studio band in Minneapolis in 1945, stayed until 1955. Working musician in Twin Cities until his death in 1974. William H. "Billy" Bastien was born in Buhl MN, 1923. Bass. Graduated from Stillwater (MN) High in 1941. He was with Claude Thornhill's band until drafted, where he served as a combat medic in the South Pacific. Discharged from the US Army in 1945, he attended the University of Minnesota, where he graduated with a degree in Music Education in 1949. Joined the Denver Public Schools as an instrumental music teacher in 1953. Retired in 1985. Recorded extensively with Johnny Smith, Peanuts Hucko, and other Colorado based musicians, including the Denver Symphony. He died in Denver, 1996.

Vincent R. Bastien was born in Little Falls MN, 1909. He played trombone, baritone, and cello, and was an arranger. Graduated from Buhl (MN) High in 1927. He was a baritone and trombone soloist with local orchestras from 1921. Moved to Twin Cities in 1929, where he worked as a trombonist with various (dixieland) bands and dance orchestras. Joined WCCO studio band in 1945 as trombonist and arranger. Gave up trombone in the early 50's to concentrate on cello and writing. Arrangements used by WCCO band, Claude Thornhill, many pit orchestras. Received BS in music education from the University of Minnesota in 1957 and joined the staff of the Roseville (MN) public schools as an instrumental music teacher. He was especially well known among musicians for a series of arrangements of standards, show tunes, and jazz classics for string quartet. Retired from teaching in 1977, but continued to work as arranger and cellist until his death (in Minneapolis) in 1980. The other relatives of Biddy's are Jim Hughart and Ted Hughart (Biddy's sister's sons).

The Jurassic Trio is Biddy Bastien, Eddie Tolck (age 83) and Bob "Doc" Caldwell (age 76). Tolck started out as a dixieland drummer in the late 20's (he doubled on piano). Red Norvo spent a couple of years here, around 1929/30 and Tolck was impressed enough to switch to vibes. He supported himself fronting small groups in the 30's and 40's, then being a sideman in dixie groups since then. There was a thriving dixie scene in the Twin Cities (sort of focused on a St. Paul suburb called Mendota) until the late seventies, and he was a central figure in it. Caldwell came along a bit later, and was one of the central figures in Twin Cities jazz in the forties, fifties, and sixties. Biddy did one movie with Gene Krupa.

By DTBASTIEN@aol.com (David Bastien)

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