Born and raised in the Chicago area, Crandalls musical sojourn has landed him in Wisconsin, Michigan, San Francisco, Honolulu and Tokyo. Original compositions span his entire musical career. Formerly a high school and college instructor, his academic pursuits have embraced psychology(MA) Japanese, and education. Performing credits include Freddie Hubbard, Ernestine Anderson, Howard Roberts, and a concert with Henry Mancini. Crandall has resided in Honolulu since 1975.
Rich Crandall has been a staple on the local Hawaiian jazz scene ever since he arrived from San Francisco in the ’70s. “It was Dec. 18, 1975, to be exact,” he said, “and I remember it because it was the day the Chart House restaurant caught fire. I was flying into Honolulu that day because I got a job at the Opus One at the Ilikai, which was just adjacent to the Chart House. As I was arriving at the hotel, I thought the place I was going to play was burning down!”
Crandall had visited Honolulu before, first staying at a college friend’s place in the summer of ’71, but there were too many opportunities here at the time for a gigging musician like him to ignore.
“Back in San Francisco, there are a lot of fine musicians, but here, there were so many places to play in comparison; in Waikiki at that time there were around 28 shows and clubs up and down Kalakaua. My first gig was with Teddy and Nanci Tanaka.”
Crandall saw the once-busy Waikiki scene starting to slow, so he became “one of the early guys who would get into freelancing. Before that, doing six or seven nights a week was not unusual. Now I was trying to keep busy doing conventions and occasionally playing on the neighbor islands.”