I have always thought that Randy Crawford was the most undiscovered smooth jazz vocalist in the U.S. Most smooth jazz radio stations do not play her releases and I can't understand why they don't. She has always been the most consistent vocalist in the genre today, yet has a stronger following outside the United States. She has already recorded some classic smooth jazz tracks like the cover of Bob Dylan's, "Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door," with David Sanborn, "Street Life," with Joe Sample and the Crusaders (which was used very successfully for a wireless company) and "Love’s Mystery," which always gets to my heart.
Her latest release, "Permanent," continues to show Randy as a consummate singer. "It's filled with a lot of wonderful, beautiful, funky, great stuff all of the things I have always wanted to represent, or be represented of me as an artist," she said.
"I’ve always wanted to be around for a long time and not just an overnight sensation," said Randy. "There were singers like Sarah Vaughn and Ella Fitzgerald, even Aretha [Franklin] and Nancy Wilson and Nina Simone people that had a kind of talent that I could identify with, and I guess, they were mentors from a distance," said Randy.
Another thing that has set Randy Crawford apart has been her knack for good song selections. She says that she would sit down and listen to a varying group of performers. Her influences range the gamut from Eric Clapton and Al Jarreau, even to the rock group. "Journey," finding songs that fit the style she shows with whatever she sings.
"Permanent," features songs from Burt Bacharach, Hal David and Albert Hammond, including the Dionne Warwick classic "Alfie." However, even though Randy was comfortable with "Alfie" and really wanted to record the song, she asked her producer, Pete Smith, to come up with a different take on the song. Randy recorded it a little more up-tempo, but with a meaning coming through stronger than the original. "The song, expresses my philosophy of life in a nutshell," she said.
Even though Randy Crawford enjoys recording covers of other artists’ music, she still tries to keep up-to-date with new material and new ways to present it. "I think it’s refreshing to surround myself with new sounds as far as musical instruments go. For all the years and all the different times I changed producers, I thought it was necessary to try and reach out and do something at least very contemporary, but still in keeping with who I am," said Randy. Songs on "Permanent" that show her contemporary feeling are "Fire and Rain," and "Free the Child."
Randy Crawford is deserving of the success that she’s enjoyed, but hopefully she will get a lot more recognition in the U.S. than she has received, and more airplay on American radio. Randy Crawford is an American original and I hope you will spread the word.