Hank Crawford (1934-2009), born Bennie Ross Crawford Jr., was an influential American jazz and R&B saxophonist, arranger, and composer. Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Crawford began playing the piano at a young age, later switching to alto saxophone. He studied music at Tennessee State University and joined the band led by Ike Turner while still in high school.
Crawford’s career took a significant turn when he joined Ray Charles’ band in the late 1950s, eventually becoming its musical director. During his tenure with Ray Charles, he honed his skills as a saxophonist, arranger, and composer, contributing to the band’s unique sound.
In the early 1960s, Crawford embarked on a solo career, releasing a series of well-received albums on Atlantic Records. His music blended elements of jazz, R&B, and soul, creating a distinctive sound that resonated with audiences. Notable recordings include “Mr. Blues,” “More Soul,” and “The Soul Clinic.”
Throughout his career, Hank Crawford collaborated with various artists, such as Dr. John, Eric Clapton, and B.B. King. His unique sound and style made him a highly sought-after musician, and he continued to record and perform until his later years.
Hank Crawford’s long and illustrious career as a saxophonist, arranger, and composer left a lasting impact on the world of jazz and R&B music. His innovative blend of genres and soulful playing continue to inspire musicians and fans alike.
Page last updated 7/16/2023.