Bassist Ron Crotty was a member of popular pianist Dave Brubeck's earlier groups, including both a trio and a quartet. Born in San Francisco, Crotty is often associated with jazz happenings in the hilly city. One of the most famous independent recording labels from Frisco, Fantasy, made an album of Crotty's own trio a reality and called the LP Modern Music from San Francisco. Tracks from this session, featuring the participation of Latin jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi, also made it onto a Fantasy compilation entitled The Jazz Scene: San Francisco. In 2004, Crotty worked a series at the Oakland Museum with a shifting cast of pianists, including the ecstatic Bliss Rodriguez.
A portion of Crotty's career in which he apparently interacted with the British jazz scene resulted from Uncle Sam's marching orders. The bassist's firmly bright sense of timekeeping, polished to a precision point through untold hours with Ray Brown and Jimmy Blanton recordings, was a welcome beacon to British jazz players attempting to make sense out of modern jazz in the '40s and '50s. The bassist was important to Brubeck, who utilized him in the very first of his trios, the third member being vibraphonist Cal Tjader. Crotty's best-known recordings with Brubeck include several college dates taped live during tours in the '50s.