School of Music > Faculty & Staff > Faculty A-Z > raphael-crawford

Raphael Crawford

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  • Adjunct Faculty Member
  • Jazz Studies
  • Jazz Trombone​

BM Western Michigan University

Hailing from Metro Detroit, trombonist Raphael Crawford is an improvisor, session musician, composer, and educator. With a professional career spanning more than two decades, his warm, smooth sound and melodic approach often evoke such descriptions as “beautiful” and “elegant.”
Raphael’s freelance performance experience is indicative of his versatility and varied musical interests and includes Ramsey Lewis, Tom Jones, Gloria Estefan’s “On Your Feet,” The Who, Wycliffe Gordon, Incognito, Tito Nieves, Lalo Shiffrin, Jon Faddis, Brenda K. Starr, Umphrey’s McGee, Steve Turre, Diane Schuur, Chico Freeman, Michael Stuart, Wanda Jackson, Howard Levy, Bobby Broom, Bryan Lynch, Vincent Gardner, Richie Cole, Ira Sullivan, Johnny Rivera, Rey Sepulveda, Choco Orta, and Bounce MC Ricky B. Headline stage performance include the New Orleans Jazz Fest, Montreal Jazz Fest, Chicago Jazz Fest, Ravinia, Pritzker Pavilion and Ryman Auditorium.
In addition to his freelance work, Raphael has co-led and composed for an Afro-Latin band and an Acid Jazz/Neo-Soul group. As a longtime member of LowDown Brass Band, Raphael recorded six albums, toured the U.S. extensively, and led numerous workshops - including a clinic at the 2017 Jazz Educators Network (JEN) conference in New Orleans.
Raphael is an active composer with a diverse catalog of original music ranging from Fusion to Afro-Cuban to Acid Jazz. His writing has earned composition grants from the Kalamazoo and Illinois Arts Councils and various commissions. His song “Cold Shoulder” (as recorded by LowDown Brass Band) was placed in an episode of the Showtime drama “The Chi,” and another original, “Grind it Out,” (also recorded by Lowdown) streamed hundreds of thousands of times as part of the Spotify “State of Jazz” playlist.
A passion for teaching has led Raphael down a diverse pedagogical path, regularly connecting with students of various ages, backgrounds, and aptitudes. As a 13-year faculty member at Columbia College Chicago, his classes and ensembles have included Jazz Combo, Applied Trombone, Arranging and Orchestration, Music Theory, and Ear Training. Raphael graduated from Western Michigan University (BM in Jazz Studies, Pi Kappa Lambda).