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. 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 Crawford 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.