Davell Crawford will reprise his still talked about tribute to the Genius of Soul, Mr. Ray Charles…”TO RAY, WITH LOVE.” The last tribute with his 22 piece orchestra has been documented and awarded as, “The best performance of 2005” in New Orleans.
Singer and pianist Davell Crawford continues the New Orleans piano tradition begun by musicians like Professor Longhair and James Booker. Crawford is the grandson of 1950s R&B star James “Sugar Boy” Crawford and the godson of Grammy Winning singer/songwriter Roberta Flack. His debut record, Let Them Talk (1995, Rounder Records), amply demonstrates his gospel, R&B and jazz influences. His gift for ballad singing is on display in full force, and he’s accompanied by some of the Crescent City’s top musicians, including drummer Herman Ernest III and saxophonist Alvin “Red” Tyler.
Crawford has been playing piano since he was seven and first toured Europe in his early teens. Although he didn’t know his grandfather was a musician, the elder Crawford did give a set of keyboards to him when he was 11. Like other young New Orleans musicians, Crawford brings a synthesis of styles (i.e., funk, gospel, and R&B) to his piano playing, songwriting and singing. His recordings include 1995’s Let Them Talk, 1996’s Just Friends, 1998’s B-3 and Me and 1999’s Love Like Yours and Mine (Richard Skelly).
This is Crawford’s first appearance on The Litchfield Jazz Festival.