South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center
Press Release

Davell Crawford & His New Orleans Creole Jazz men Saturday, September 20, 7:30 pm

“Davell is the embodiment of every New Orleans music legend that has ever lived, from Jelly Roll Morton to Dr. John, from Mahalia and Satchmo, to James Booker and Professor Longhair, all rolled up into one musical ball of fire." Blues Access Magazine

By - Sep 12th, 2014 01:59 pm

Singer and pianist Davell Crawford is hailed as “The Piano Prince of New Orleans,” and one of the true wonders of the contemporary Crescent City music scene. He is bringing the spirit of New Orleans and his latest show, Davell & His New Orleans Creole Jazz Men to the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center on Saturday, September 20, at 7:30 pm.

“As a New Orleans musician, it is my most honored charge and duty…my sacred obligation, to preserve this music, by playing it to the many audiences around the world that love us, our culture, heritage and music. We must keep playing our music to those that are familiar with it, while introducing our music in varied ways to a new and perhaps unfamiliar audience of people,” says Davell Crawford.

Davell’s musical accompaniment provides a feast for the ears with a vast variety of instruments including trumpet, clarinet, saxophone, slide trombone, banjo, upright bass and drums. The musicians in the band will relive their Louisiana musical heritage by showcasing songs such as Twelfth Street Rag, Muskrat Ramble, High Society, Tiger Rag, Milenberg Joys, Margie, Tailgate Ramble and Royal Garden Blues.

As a true roots musician, Davell Crawford has gained many honors and accolades for his performances

and contributions. Nick Spitzer of American Routes says, “Davell is somewhat of a mystery in many ways. A quiet, and believe it or not, a pretty shy guy. But he’s that rare breed of performer that shows up everywhere in music and does it all…and very well might I add.”

Davell’s latest undertaking has been the formation of his band, “Davell Crawford & His New Orleans

Creole Jazz Men,” specializing in New Orleans Traditional Jazz from the early 20th century. Accompanied by the instrumentation of trumpet, clarinet, saxophone, slide trombone, banjo, upright bass and drums with Davell on piano, material such as ‘Twelfth Street Rag’, ‘Muskrat Ramble’ c.1926, ‘High Society’ c.1901, ‘Tiger Rag’ c.1917, ‘Milenberg Joys’c.1923, ‘Margie’ c.1920, ‘Tailgate Ramble’, ‘Royal Garden Blues’c.1919, is the core music performed by Davell Crawford & His New Orleans Creole Jazz Men. Just about all musicians in this band can trace their Louisiana musical heritage back generations to the originators, performers and celebrities of this music.

Davell lives firmly by his affection for New Orleans music. He says, “though I live in New York, New Orleans music is in absolutely everything I play. It’s also a huge part of how I live my everyday life. The music of the early 20th century was a music of experience. People wrote and sang songs of experience. Musicians played music to what and how they lived.” He goes on to say that Basin Street Blues is about the main street of the Storyville District (the Red-Light District) of New Orleans located in the French Quarter. Louis Armstrong, who recorded the song in 1928, two years after it was published, was still a young musician who was often a patron of the red-light district, but more importantly, worked as a musician in the many brothels, clubs, music and dance halls alongside Joe “King” Olivier, Jelly Roll Morton and scores of other great musicians. So, working and living in that environment influenced these musicians because of what they experienced every day.

“What keeps New Orleans music so vibrant even today is that same core ‘ingredient’ if you will. We play the music of yesterday in the same spirit as they created it. Storyville may be gone, but the exact same things that went on in Storyville District is still happening someplace in New Orleans and regardless if it’s good or bad, most of us here knows someone deeply rooted in that type of life and lifestyle…a Storyville kind of life. Here in New Orleans, we sing and play about these things.

Playing our music, and learning from our forefathers of New Orleans music, my generation understands just how important it is in our song, dance and culture to celebrate life. We celebrate new life, a life taken away by death, all the life experiences in between and even the afterlife. It’s all in the traditional music of my people and I am proud to say that the music we present as the Creole Jazz Men celebrate a great genre, lifestyle and time in our history and I’m honored to present it whenever I can.” (Davell Crawford)

Blues Access Magazine says that Davell Crawford is, “the embodiment of every New Orleans music legend that has ever lived, from Jelly Roll Morton to Dr. John, from Mahalia and Satchmo, to James Booker and Professor Longhair, all rolled up into one musical ball of fire.”

Tickets for the Saturday, September 20 show may be purchased online at, by phone at (414) 766-5049, or at the Box Office at 901 15th Avenue, South Milwaukee, WI 53172. The show will be preceded by a complimentary social featuring soft drinks, coffee and dessert, starting at 6:30 p.m.


South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center (SMPAC) provides the greater Milwaukee and southeastern Wisconsin communities with creative, innovative and diverse performing arts. Located on the South Milwaukee 6-12 campus, it serves the students of the city of South Milwaukee and provides professional services for more than 500 shows, performances, rehearsals and other events annually.

Our last season was filled with flamenco dancers, the award-winning improvisation group Baby Wants Candy, the stunning Milwaukee Ballet II, and other fantastic performances. Upcoming 2014-15 artists include Davell Crawford, Br(OK)en Genius and Jerome Kitzke.

Student matinees, workshops and talk-backs for all grade levels are provided by some season artists, including Robert Glasper, the Milwaukee Ballet II, Avner Eisenberg and Sybarite5. Other artists and organizations that provide performing arts experiences for students include the Florentine Opera, Danceworks, Still Waters Collective and the Missoula Children’s Theatre.

The SMPAC also opens our doors to other presenters for artists such as George Winston, Lindsey Buckingham, Arlo Guthrie, Jesse Cook, Ruthie Foster, Tommy Emmanuel, John Hiatt, Ian Hunter, Joe Lovano, Cantare Chorale and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. The SMPAC provides a home to the School District of South Milwaukee events and the Grant Park Players, the local community theatre.

The South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center is located at 901 15th Avenue in South Milwaukee between College and Rawson Avenues. It is easily accessible from I-94 and 794. Free parking is located in the northwest parking lot. Patrons should enter door #9. For tickets or directions, call 414-766-5049. For more information about the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center, visit

Performances are supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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