Bennie Ross Crawford, 21 December 1934, Memphis, Tennessee, USA. One of the most prolific jazz/blues saxophonists, Crawford came to prominence as a member of the Ray Charles band in the late 50s. After studying at the University of Tennessee, he joined Charles in 1958, playing baritone saxophone and working closely with the leader on arrangements and new material. Eventually he was given the title musical director. Crawford later switched to alto saxophone and while still a member of the Charles band, he was signed in 1961 to a solo recording contract with Atlantic Records. His earliest recordings included fellow Charles sideman David Fathead Newman on tenor saxophone and reproduced the funky feel of Charles own work. Crawford left Ray Charles and formed his own group in 1964, the year after Hollywood arranger Marty Paich had worked with him on an album of standards such as Star Dust and Stormy Weather, but the bulk of...
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