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Full Bloom

Jason Crosby makes his mark in Marin music scene

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SUCCESSFUL TRANSPLANT - ‘I love it here,’ says former New Yorker Jason Crosby. - BOB MINKIN
  • Bob Minkin
  • SUCCESSFUL TRANSPLANT ‘I love it here,’ says former New Yorker Jason Crosby.

Even though multi-instrumentalist Jason Crosby has been playing music with prodigious skill since he was two years old, he still calls himself a late bloomer.

Classically trained in violin, piano, guitar and other instruments, the Long Island native, living in Marin County since 2013, plays regularly around the North Bay and beyond with Phil Lesh, Doobie Decibel System and others.

On June 11, Crosby joins an all-star lineup at the Blue Rose Foundation's massive fundraising concert at the Mystic Theatre in Petaluma. Crosby will hit the stage alongside songwriter Jackie Greene, Nicki Bluhm & the Gramblers and Nicole Atkins.

"I had a different kind of childhood growing up, listening to classical and jazz, so a lot of [rock and folk] music that l learned, like James Brown and the Grateful Dead, I learned by playing with bands rather than hearing from the source," Crosby says.

The first time Crosby ever played music without having it written in front of him, he says, was at age 16. "It was nerve-wracking."

After high school, Crosby started playing in rock 'n' roll bands. That's when he says his excitement for contemporary music caught fire. He toured regularly with Robert Randolph & the Family Band, the Susan Tedeschi Band and others.

Crosby lived in Manhattan for 10 years before moving to Marin. "I came out in 2012 with God Street Wine and played at Bob Weir's TRI Studios as well as Sweetwater and Terrapin—the loop of magic going on here in Marin," he says. Things clicked so much that Crosby decided to move to California full-time.

"I love it here," Crosby says of the North Bay. "Musicians get well taken care of here. It's a great community. It's amazing, because I was once just that kid discovering this music like the Dead. I was a little bit of a late bloomer, but to be around them now and be considered a peer is gratifying.

"Through Bob [Weir] and Phil [Lesh], I've met so many other people who have taken me on the road or into the studio," Crosby continues. "I've been unbelievably busy ever since I moved here."

When not on the road, Crosby is a staple of the North Bay scene. On June 2, he celebrated his 42nd birthday with a massive concert party at Terrapin Crossroads, and his upcoming schedule includes several dates throughout California with Doobie Decibel System, his duo with Moonalice's Roger McNamee.

"I'm humbled by it," Crosby says. "It's just been an adventure here."

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