About the Parade

Photo /  Ralph DePalma

Though the auspices of The Bahama Village Music Program, this annual event celebrates the lives of those who we have loved and lost. 

The parade started in 2015 after Key West lost the world class drummer Richard Crooks. The traditional New Orleans second line send off was attended by hundreds. This parade and fund raiser for musical education is his legacy to the Key West community.

Starting at Noon, the Crooks Annual Second Line will take over the Hog's Breath Parking Lot with fantastic music, a Bloody Mary Bar Sponsored by Bombora Vodka and Hog's Breath and beautiful merchandise and parade paraphernalia for sale and raffle.  BVMP Board President and good friend of Richard's, Larry Baeder, will emcee the party!  Photo Placards may be picked up starting at noon with a group photo planned for 1:15.

At 2:00 we Parade!  Starting off with our Grand Marshall Mick Kilgos and the Funeral Band, led by Skipper Krippitz and comprised of some of the islands great musicians, the Second Line heads down Duval St at a leisurely pace.  Honoree placards are held high above the crowd as the parade dances down the street.  

Around 3pm the Second Line arrives at the Green Parrot where an amazing street jam seems to happen every year at the infamous corner of Southard and Whitehead St.  Then the party moves inside where Larry Baeder will read the names of this year's honorees during a performance by the Bahama Village Music Program Joyful Voices Choir.  This moving tribute is not to be missed, and is followed by a Jazz Jam led by the incomparable Bill Blue until 6pm.  

By recreating that first-time event for Key West, this annual celebration of life will offer the same opportunity for all Key West citizens and Key Westers at heart, to honor and share their love for those whom have passed, but are never forgotten.

About Richard Crooks

Photo /  Ralph DePalma

Richard Crooks was one of the most loved and celebrated musicians in Key West. It was easy to love "Crooksy" and for good reason. He was a pro's pro who commanded respect for his immense musical talent yet was always open, warm and kind to all. Crooks grew up in Gilroy California playing drums in the high school band, and went on to earn a BA in Music at San Jose State. He traveled from the Bay area to Los Angeles, and then on to New York, playing with a long list of major artists that would make any musician envious. One close friend, Sally Galbraith, said "He has literally made music with everyone except the Beatles and the Rolling Stones". Later, we found a few of the Stones recording artists that he had played with. So in truth, it might have been just the Beatles he never played with.

Crooks had a 25 year plus relationship with artists such as David Bromberg and Dr. John, working on numerous albums and tours. While in New York Richard Crooks became a legendary "A" list session musician, credited on hundreds of major releases. Long time friend and collaborator Larry Baeder said his nickname in the New York recording scene was "Father Time" because his time is always perfect. Dr. John was once quoted as saying "...none of them New Orleans muthaf----s play as good as Richard Crooks."

Crooks visited and played in Key West for a long time before moving down here full time with his wife in 2008. He immediately dove-tailed into the Key West music scene playing Sunday Jazz at the Green Parrot, the Gardens Hotel, and Sloppy Joe's, among others. One of his favorite gigs was playing the funky BO's Fishwagon with Barry Cuda and Kenny Fradley. Barry Cuda always felt confident playing with Crooks. He could step out once in a awhile and take a chance knowing Crooks had his back. While playing a New Orleans Boogie Woogie, Cuda took a few liberties and looked over at Crooks for approval. Richard quipped "You owe me a beat."