September 1999

Davell Crawford - Love Like Yours and Mine
Bullseye Blues & Jazz 1161-9606-2
Released: 1999

by Bruce Bassett

Musical Performance ****1/2
Recording Quality ***1/2
Overall Enjoyment ****1/2

[Reviewed on CD]It is a rare occasion indeed when I get to gush about a CD with the same degree of exuberance found within the liner notes and accompanying promotional materials. Understandably, the aforementioned items are chosen for specific marketing purposes and typically wax eloquent about the artist. A phrase such as, "his/her prodigious talent shines through as this revolutionary breakthrough album elevates the listener to new plateaus as if hearing music for the first time" would be not completely atypical. Of course, most people reading such saccharine would likely have their listening objectivity influenced to some degree, ranging anywhere from skepticism to optimism. It is for this reason that I try and avoid reading anything about a piece of music and the artist before I sit down to review. I, like everyone else, already possess my own biases and therefore I try and limit the amount of additional baggage I carry into the listening room. I want the music, not the PR department of a record company, to speak to me.

Love Like Yours and Mine features the diverse talents of pianist/vocalist Davell Crawford in what could very generally be categorized as a contemporary jazz mood . It is also the first CD I have ever reviewed in which I could not find any major discrepancy between the promotional hype and my reality. In fact, it was almost eerie as I read the liner notes, which were compiled and written by Geraldine Wykoff, and reflected on my own thoughts. With regard to the jazz standard "Fly Me to the Moon" I had scrawled "fresh take on an oldie with tremendous timing and pace" and his voice a "soulful Sarah Vaughan." The CD notes comment on a "soulfulness," the "timing and jazz-wise vocals" and the "touch of Sarah Vaughan in his voice." On "Adanika" I had interpreted a "piano and flute in an impassioned and memorable samba" while Madame Wykoff characterized it as "an immediately hummable song…" and noted that "Brazilian fans, however, know the tune as a samba…." "Sunday Morning," my personal favorite, is an instrumental that has "the contemporary church melding with vibrant Gospel stride" or "the pianist takes us on a journey from the stride of the old-time Missionary Baptist Church to the more contemporary Baptist and Pentecostal styles".

Crawford’s roots in gospel music are evident throughout "Love Like Yours and Mine" and bequeath an effervescence of spirituality and soulfulness to the music. His command of the 88s is nothing short of spectacular and is showcased time and time again through flawless staccato runs as on "Fly Me to the Moon," his deft dynamic touch as on "Love Like Yours and Mine," and by the ingenuity and technical prowess displayed on songs like "Sunday Morning." So when the back of the CD speaks of his "prodigal talent" and refers to his "astonishing virtuosity," I have no choice but to nod my head in total agreement.