RANDY CRAWFORD

RANDY CRAWFORD

Naked and True

Bluemoon 92662

The language of Soul is universal, and so is the popularity of singer Randy Crawford. That's why it's no surprise that audiences around the world are responding with thunderous applause to Crawford's new album, Naked and True.

Naked and True accents Crawford's vocal versatility with the free-funkin' bass of Bootsy Collins, the keyboard fusion of Bernie Worrell, and the rhythmic authority of Fred Wesley Horns. The result is a pure, R &B-based soul sound that appeals to generations raised on the black music classics of the ´60s and ´70s, as well as younger fans who have learned about the genre through acid jazz, retro funk and rare groove samplers. Naked and True features the laid back, stripped down UK street sound of remake-wizard Femi Williams (of Young Disciples fame), the straight house approach of Peter Parker, the bubbling British beats of Mark Moore (S'Express) and the soulful reconstructions of Nick Mannaseh & Martin Madhatter.

Originally released in Europe by WEA Germany, Naked and True is Crawford's first project for Bluemoon and has made an impressive impact at urban, urban contemporary and new adult contemporary ("Smooth Jazz") radio since its November, 1995 release in the U.S. The album charted #1 on trade magazine BRE's Contemporary Jazz chart, and remained in the Top 10 on R &R's NAC album chart for 20 consecutive weeks.

Working with Hannover, Germany-based producer Ralf Droesemeyer, Crawford has delivered twelve new tracks for Naked and True -- a few of her all-time favorite songs, plus a couple of standards which have remained fresh for decades. The album marks her return to genuine jazzy soul arrangements, a style that forged her celebrity status during the mid- and late-´70s and resulted in classics like "Street Life" (recorded in 1978 as guest vocalist with the Crusaders).

Born in Macon, Georgia, Crawford grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, where singing with her church choir became the genesis ofa musical career. Since her early live sessions in small clubs and her first overseas engagement in St.Tropez, Randy Crawford has exhibited a distinctive and commanding vocal style. At the age of 21, she was already being booked by jazz legends such as Cannonball Adderley, Quincy Jones and George Benson.

In 1976, Randy Crawford released her debut album "Everything Must Change". What followed was an unbroken string of hit albums and singles, including "One Day I'11 Fly Away" from the album "Now We May Begin" (1980). Standout showcases for her unique jazz, pop and soul blend, including Secret Combination (1981), Nightline (1983) and her landmark Abstract Emotions(1986, featuring the single "Almaz") made her a household name on five continents. Three world tours during that period took her to Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and North America. In the United Kingdom, her stature guaranteed a series of sold-out tours and twoconcerts with the London Symphony Orchestra. Her live performances during this period included all of Europe's pre-eminent jazz festivals including the North Sea, Montreaux, Antibbe, Lugano, and Stuttgart, where she shared the stage with artists such as Al Jarreau, Joe Sample, and Ray Charles, to name a few. She also performed for the United Nations Benefit in Croatia, a UNICEF TV special and a Christmas concert in the Vatican in front of the Pope in 1991.

"A faultless version of ´Imagine´ and her encore, the classic ´One Day I'11 Fly Away,´ which still sounds as fresh as the day it was born, proved that Randy is way up there with the best of them," observed the British magazine Melody Maker after visiting one of her concerts. With the release of The Very Best Of Randy Crawford (1993), the singer rounded off nearly two decades of remarkable achievements.

Randy Crawford's creative collaboration with hugely popular Italian singer Zucchero resulted in historic concerts inside the Kremlin Walls, with Crawford and Zucchero sharing the stage in this first-and-last-of-its-kind event. Their duet single "Diamante" (1990) was a major German chart success. On the studio albums Rich And Poor (1989, including her version of the Bob Dylan classic "Knockin' At Heaven's Door" from the soundtrack of Lethal Weapon II), Through the Eyes Of Love (1991) and Don't Say It's Over (1993), Crawford worked with luminaries like Nathan East, Joe Sample and Sadao Watanabe.

In 1993 Crawford toured Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Switzerland, Poland,Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain, The United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Australia. The year was highlighted by a thirteen concert, sell-out tour of South Africa, and made even more memorable by an invitation to dine with President Nelson Mandela.

After a two-year break, Randy Crawford sounds fresher than ever. On Naked And True she pays homage to some of the singers who influenced her unique and dynamic style. Crawford explains why she chose "All The King's Horses" (a 1972 Aretha Franklin hit) as one of the featured tracks on Naked And True: "I learned to sing while I listened to Aretha Franklin. That lady was always a big influence on me." "What A Difference A Day Makes" incorporates a similar approach. "I made myself a promise to include one standard like this on the album," Crawford notes on why she opted for Dinah Washington's 1964 evergreen. "J.J. Cale's ´Cajun Moon´ is another song with a distinct gospel and rhythm-and-blues feel," she adds. Tracks like "Forget Me Nets" and "Give Me The Night" arose from past collaborations. "I've worked with Patrice Rushen and George Benson, and I respect their achievements," Crawford says, "so I'm proud to have recorded two of their songs." The mutual respect for the artists who originally recorded these songs is a major theme throughout the album: "I was familiar with ´Holding Back The Years,´ though I never actually met Mick Hucknall. But, I'm planning to send a copy of the CD to all the artists whose songs I recorded."

Naked And True marks Crawford's return to her early soul and fink days. At the same time it opens new doors for her among an ever-growing global audience of new soul music fans. With her new songs, Randy links the past with the present and the future -- a truly universal rhythm connection.

Since July 1995, Crawford has been touring the major summer jazz festivals in Europe. Autumn stops on the Naked and True tour include Scandinavia, Germany, Belgium, Italy,Switzerland, Austria, France, Spain, Portugal, Russia, Poland, Greece, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Japan, South East Asia, Africa, India, Australia and hopefully, The People's Republic of China. Additional performances are now being scheduled in North and South America.


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