SLU Alumnus Wins Grammy With New Orleans Jazz Band – The Lion’s Roar
A Class of 1984 SLU graduate recently won a Grammy with his band, the New Orleans Nightcrawlers.
Craig Klein, the band’s trombonist, shared his feelings about the band’s accomplishment.
The Grammy was for the best regional Roots music album, awarded to the Nightcrawlers for their new album, titled “Atmosphere.” According to Klein, it was the first record in over ten years. The Nightcrawlers have only released five records in their 27 years together, so winning a Grammy in their fifth is a big achievement for the group.
Klein’s introduction to music began at a very young age. He started with his uncle’s trombone in fourth grade. He has remained faithful and practiced for years, citing his uncle as one of his greatest jazz inspirations.
During his time at SLU, Klein was a DJ for KSLU, performed as a member of the local jazz band, and paraded with the Spirit of the Southland Marching Band. While he graduated with a marketing degree and spent five years acquiring it, Klein said music was one of his biggest outlets.
“Playing music during my years at Southeastern allowed me to hone my skills. It gave me a way to play while I focused on getting my marketing degree, ”Klein said.
Klein also said he never expected to win a Grammy during his musical career. His band didn’t have a name when they started in 1994. It started out as a writers’ workshop, where members would come to each other’s houses and play until they found a sound they liked. Their first record will be released in 1996, two years after the group’s creation.
Winning the Grammy Nightcrawlers encouraged them to keep playing and pushing themselves harder than they’ve worked out in recent years.
They plan to release a new album in October and perform at Jazz Fest this year. Overall, Klein said he is very optimistic about the future and will use the Grammy as a motivational tool to continue working in his band’s music.
He said, “This Grammy brings recognition not only to us, but also to the city of New Orleans and the marching band community in general. That was the main focus, emphasizing the culture that was an integral part of New Orleans, when it was primarily an African-American tradition. This music is very sacred, very spiritual. It honors all the musicians who came before us.