Arts and Entertainment
|The gift of music is saxophonist Adrian Crutchfield’s goal|
|Musician who played with Prince pays it forward|
|Published Friday, August 7, 2020|
|Musician Adrian Crutchfield, who has played with Prince and Anthony Hamilton, is inspired to forward the gift of music to young people. “When Kenny G gave me my first saxophone at 4 years old, it changed my life, essentially,” Crutchfield said.|
The Charlotte native and Northwest School of the Arts graduate received his first as a gift from Kenny G. at 4 years old. It would inspire his musical career, leading to recording with Prince’s backing band The New Power Generation, and performances with artists like Anthony Hamilton, Cee-Lo Green, Lionel Ritchie and Bette Midler.
Mecklenburg County commissioners proclaimed Aug. 11, 2018 as Adrian Crutchfield Day. It was his honor, but Crutchfield uses it to inspire others, particularly children.
“When Kenny G gave me my first saxophone at 4 years old it changed my life, essentially,” Crutchfield said. “I came up with this concept of from now on, when I do a major show, I want to do that for a young person, especially after working with other artists like Prince, who was really big on working with and influencing young people. He was a huge believer that the next generation would carry us on. This whole concept came up about using Adrian Crutchfield day to bestow music into a younger person and prolonging the quality of real music and the interest in it with kids.”
Last year, Crutchfield celebrated with a performance at Booth Playhouse in Uptown as the first official event to commemorate the day. His childhood experience with Kenny G inspired him to do the same for a young artist, a 9-year-old boy also named Adrian. Crutchfield learned about Adrian through fellow Charlotte musician Harvey Cummings’ Instagram, which showed a program at the Harvey B. Gantt Center where children had the opportunity to try different instruments. Adrian fell in love with the saxophone, and Crutchfield saw his passion as a way to pass the gift of music on to the next generation. Crutchfield gifted him with a saxophone during his performance.
“It started because I was inspired by somebody,” Crutchfield said. “I wanted to make my day about inspiration.”
Crutchfield will honor the third annual Adrian Crutchfield day, despite the COVID-19 pandemic removing the possibility for an in-person performance. On Aug. 11, he will host a virtual concert called “GIVE LOVE,” the second in the Jazz N Soul Live “Streamin” series from the Cube in Charlotte. Tickets are $5 or pay what you want.
“When the pandemic hit, we knew we couldn’t do the show the same way, but I still wanted to make it about inspiration,” Crutchfield said. “What better thing to focus on than Black music and the artists who have encouraged unity, peace and love, but also brought attention to social injustice. That’s what we are going to do.”
Crutchfield will use the concert to celebrate the influence of Black musicians who have used their creativity for social change, and who have championed the Black experience through art.
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