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Now THIS should be interesting- Davell Underground NYC

August 1, 2011

Come August, he won’t need to travel abroad to see familiar faces.
On Aug. 11, he opens Davell Underground, a new performance space in a former storage room within The Kiosk, a Moroccan-themed restaurant and hookah joint on East 116th Street in Harlem. “I don’t want to call it a ‘club.’ It’s a ‘room,’ ” Crawford said. “We will have great music there for as long as the people of New York want to accept it, and as long as I can keep it rolling.”
He and his business partner plan to present live music several nights a week. Crawford said the roster will include such New Orleanians as Charmaine Neville, Donald Harrison Jr., Delfeayo Marsalis, Benny Turner and Herlin Riley. He also plans to feature New Yorkers, including the flutist Bobbi Humphrey.
“Basically, it’s booked until November,” Crawford said. “These are all my friends. I’m grateful and honored that somebody still loves me.”
Were it not for Katrina, Crawford may not have found his way to New York. He was on tour in Brazil when the storm struck. “I didn’t say it publicly, but in my mind, I moved the day that I found out we were under water,” he said.
He then hit the road with trumpeter Leon Brown.
“I said, ‘OK, what you got?’ He said, ‘A trumpet.’ ‘No clothes?’ ‘Nothing.’ I told him, ‘It’s easier to make money anywhere in the world as a trumpet player and piano player from New Orleans after the hurricane.’ And that’s what we did, for quite a while.”
He still turns up frequently in New Orleans to visit and support causes, organizations and individuals with whom he is close. “You never really move from here. I’m here a lot; I just don’t play a lot.”
He considers performing at funerals part of his duty as a musician. In recent years, there’s been no shortage of those.
“I get sad when I think about people that we’ve lost who shaped our community and helped me become who I am. I wouldn’t be all of Davell Crawford if it wasn’t for Marva Wright, or if I didn’t grow up knowing Juanita Brooks and sneaking into a hotel on Bourbon Street to listen to this woman sing.
“When people have been that for you in your life — and I’ve been a son, a friend, a nephew, a musical brother to them — there’s no way you will ever get over that.”
His repertoire likely will cover R&B and gospel territory, along with old favorites.
“You can play all the Bach you want to play, but at the end of the day, I’m a New Orleans piano player, and I’m in New Orleans again. I’m here. I’m home.
“So I’ll end up playing some New Orleans stuff.” Like this?

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