Wilton Crawley

This is an example of an early jazz musician who has been largely forgotten. But if his clarinet was blasting in their ears for a few more days, it would be hard to forget. Wilton Crawley was not the most versatile musician, but he still managed to create a unique sound and style for clarinet. He used strange sound effects, slap tongue, and extended use of slap-tonguing. Sometimes, he would fill out entire solos with loud pops. Many recordings made under Crowley’s name, including those by Jelly Roll Morton (pianist), have been reissued in Morton retrospectives. After his family moved from Virginia, Crawley and Jimmy Crawley started a band. The clarinetist started to be successful with a variety show that featured his singing and playing in the ’20s u0026 ’30s. Many of the above recordings were made in the latter part of the 1920s. Most of them include Morton. Crawley is also accompanied by Eddie Lang, an excellent early jazz guitarist, on some of his earlier sides. Crawley attempts to imitate jazz sounds using other instruments. This includes muted trumpet effects like those created by Bubber Miley. Crawley’s influences can be traced back to Virginia, with its many farms, barnyards, and other sounds: Crawley clucks and clucks just like a chicken, oinks and neighes like an animal, and cackles and clucks just like a pig. Crawley may have some sound effects that could be used to predict the work of artists like Anthony Braxton. However, Crawley seems to have more similarities with clarinetists Spike Jones and later rock performers such as Arthur Brown. Crawley was seen propelling himself along a stage while holding a lit kerosene lamp on the top of his head. This was apparently the end of Crawley’s vaudeville act. Crawley was also known by the nickname “the human worm”, although it is unclear what this has to do to a clarinet. Some of his members were part of ensembles like Wilton Crawley.

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