Davell Crawford

The B-3 and Me

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Despite the renewed interest in organ combos that came about in the late 1980s and was still happening in the late 1990s, very few young hard boppers were actually taking up the organ. Apart from Joey DeFrancesco and a few others, the ones benefiting the most from this focus on the Hammond B-3 were older greats like Jimmy Smith, Jack McDuff, Charles Earland and Jimmy McGriff. Also known for his piano playing, Young Lion Davell Crawford was only 21 when he played the organ exclusively on The B-3 and Me. This soul-jazz/hard bop CD showed the New Orleans native to have a Smith-based approach to the instrument, and there isn't much to set B-3 apart from the many similar organ-combo recordings that had come out 30 and 35 years earlier. But while Crawford (whose competent backing includes tenor saxman Clarence Johnson III and drummer Shannon Powell) won't win many awards for innovation, he's likable and consistently swinging. Pianist Henry Butler (also a Crescent City native) has a nice spot on "I Can't Give You Anything But Love," and singer Germaine Bazzle shows how exhilarating a combination jazz and R&B can be when she tears into "Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone." From blues-drenched originals like "Uptown" and "The Cat" to interpretations of "Stormy Weather" and "I Can't Stop Loving You" (originally a country song), this is a decent, if conventional, release.

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