Davell Crawford has just released his fourth album "Love Like Yours And Mine" a soulful blend of piano based jazz and bold distinctive vocals. Born 23 years ago in New Orleans, Davell's earlier work was heavily influenced by the Delta Blues of Professor Longhair and James Booker. This new album is much more in the New Orleans piano tradition, with influences from the African American Church. This is not surprising, as Davell has been involved with Gospel Music his whole life, singing in and leading choirs, as well as playing the organ in church.
Davell's love affair with music must have really been give a boost, when at the age of 11 he was given his first keyboard by his grandfather, the R&B man James "Sugar Boy" Crawford. Since then Davell has developed into a very accomplished jazz pianist, superbly demonstrated on this album in a collection of his favorite tunes. Without being innovative "Love Like Yours And Mine" is a delicious mix of soulful jazz ballads and swooping instrumentals; some are covers of jazz or modern classics, others are the mans' own compositions.
Davell Crawford's excellent piano work and distinctive soul filled voice are immediately apparent on the first track "Fly Me To The Moon." This is a great cover of a jazz classic, in fact if you did not know, it would be difficult to believe that it had not been sung by one of the jazz giants of the Fifties or Sixties. Davell's voice and sense of timing are reminiscent of Sarah Vaughan or Dinah Washington.
The album moves on through the title track, a lovely ballad from Crawford's own pen, to a great instrumental "Andanika," which Davell wrote in only a few minutes after a challenge by his aunt: he was just 14 years old. Played and rearranged many times since, this is an upbeat and fast moving piece of jazz, which features some superb work by the flautist Thaddeus Richard. Two other tracks worthy of particular note are, a particularly moving version of "Everything Must Change" first sung by Stevie Wonder, and a cover of Lennon and McCartney's "Let It Be," which is acknowledged to be influenced by the Ray Charles version of this Beatles Classic. Overall this is a very good, well produced jazz album, with great piano playing and impressive vocals. Davell Crawford is worth listening to now, and I suspect his best work is yet to come.
Bullseye Blues and Jazz
One Camp Street
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02140
This review is copyright © 1999 by Ian Webb, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.