CULTURE

‘Prince of New Orleans’ at Half Note

New Orleans-born pianist Davell Crawford is driven by the desire to salvage the remnants of Louisiana?s cultural life that were not wiped out by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He is playing at the Half Note Jazz Club in Athens, along with his drummer Joseph Dyson and guitarist Mark Brooks, until Thursday, February 3.

Like many other artists in the city who saw years of work washed away in the floods, Crawford watched Katrina raze the building in which he had founded an ambitious educational program with recording facilities aimed at helping underprivileged children and youths pursue their dream to become involved in music. Ever since, he has pledged to rebuild the center with whatever money he can muster from his numerous tours, recordings and teaching projects.

A precocious performer whose stage career began at the age of seven, Crawford made his first recordings in his early 20s. Over the course of his career he has became known for his rich mix of gospel, rhythm ?n? blues and funk, which he combines with more traditional forms in the footsteps of legends such as Jerry Roll Morton, Mahalia Jackson, Dr John (with whom he has frequently appeared on stage) and James Booker.

The artist?s resume includes extensive touring around the globe and a number of outstanding — and highly personal — interpretations of Ray Charles classics, while his take on ?Fly Me to the Moon? and ?Stormy Weather? earned him kudos in a number of American music circle. He is also known for interpreting Beatles songs, forming various ensembles (ranging from trios to sextets) and excelling as an organ player. Most people, however, agree that he is at his best when sitting at the piano with a microphone.

Half Note Jazz Club, 17 Trivonianou, Mets, tel 210.921.3310.