Hank Crawford, another of the cadre of Ray Charles saxophonists who went on to their own fame, died on January 29. David “Fathead” Newman and Leroy “Hog” Cooper, Crawford’s colleagues in the Charles band, died earlier last month. Crawford’s alto, Newman’s tenor and Cooper’s baritone saxophones were integral to Charles’s big band in the 1950s and early ’60s.
Crawford’s recording and touring bands were among the finest medium-sized groups of the era. Some of his earliest and best work is contained in this two-CD set. A gifted soloist, composer and arranger, Crawford continued to make superb ensemble recordings throughout his active career. This 1984 album is representative of his ability to merge sophistication in his writing with the deep blues feeling that almost always resulted in the word “soul” being applied in discussions of his music. When he came of age, Memphis, Tennessee, was producing a storied group of jazz musicians that also included Charles Lloyd, Harold Mabern, George Coleman, Booker Little and Phineas Newborn, Jr.
Crawford was 74.
Dr. Mike Baughan says
Sadly for us, but ‘Brother Ray’s’ puttin’ together his helluva band back together up there!
May God bless our beloved cousin as he joins our other members of the Crawford family in heaven. The music will be great, the choir will have them jumpin.
Gary Alexander says
Hank’s “More Soul” album has long been one of my desert island disks. It featured Hog Cooper and Fathead Newman in the classic three-sax sound, along with two trumpets and Hank’s soulful arrangements (plus one by Brother Ray).
When a friend told me about liking Kenny G (a common malady), I said that if he liked that sound, he should check out Hank Crawford or David Sanborn. I bought a CD of More Soul for him on his birthday last November, and he was knocked out. Now, all three horn men died in a two week period. What a great loss, but as Dr. Mike said above, a helluva band up there.
Ned Corman says
Your comments about all the rush that came out of Memphis, in Crawford’s time there, made me think about a book I’m close to finishing, Malcolm Gladwell’s OUTLIERS. Although far too simplistic a description, I’m comfortable saying that Gladwell suggests being in the right place at the right time may have more to do with being who we are than previously thought. OUTLIERS got panned, at least a bit, by several critics. I’m digging the book a lot although will take him to task for not saying more about music’s role at KIPP. Check it out (http://www.kipp.org/). Money back if you don’t dig it, but then, you’ve probably already devoured it. Gladwell’s THE TIPPING POINT worked for me. BLINK not as much so. OUTLIERS gives me lots of grist.