“I don’t know that I’ve ever been brought to tears by a piano piece. Davell Crawford has changed that. … his performance of “Southern Nights/Many Rivers To Cross,” the marriage of an Allen Toussaint song to a Jimmy Cliff song, is transcendent. I cried. It felt like a gift to hear it.”- Melissa Bratcher, Popshifter.com http://popshifter.com/2013-05-23/music-review-davell-crawford-my-gift-to-you/#.dpuf
The Dakota has long felt a strong connection with New Orleans, and the great music that has flowed up river from that city to ours. The relationship become more poignant when Dr. John played three powerful nights at the Dakota on the same days that Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city. At that time, we decided we’d try and present artists from New Orleans monthly, and we’ve done that almost every month since.
Among the most memorable of those shows have been the incandescent nights with the Allen Toussaint, one of the great legends of American music, who, as a legendary producer, songwriter, singer and pianist, embodied the soul of New Orleans. He passed away this past fall while on tour in Europe, and we wanted to do at the Dakota to honor his memory and legacy. Several weeks ago, Davell Crawford contacted us and asked if he could, accompanied by some musicians who had toured with Allen, do a tribute at the Dakota.
Davell Crawford is a brilliant talent who made his 1st professional appearance when he was 7 years old and made his New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival debut when he was 14. Widely and respectfully known at the Prince of New Orleans, he was displaced from his home by Katrina, but his regular performances at Jazz Fest are considered events.
He can masterfully play the complex rollicking piano style of Professor Longhair and James Booker, dig deep and convincingly into the power of southern gospel, revel in the blues, and reflect the contrasts of country simplicity and sophisticated grace that are imbedded in his Creole heritage. As a singer, pianist, and charismatic performer, one would be hard pressed to name a more appropriate artist to honor the music and legacy of Allen Toussaint.