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This is an outstanding album and even more impressive, it’s live! Talk about a great Jazz bands flying under the radar, the Jazz Crusaders are basically known to dedicated Jazz fans only. That’s why it is being featured here and of course, so the Jazz Con Class listeners can learn more about them. The name of the album is “The Festival Album” and will be featured here for a couple of weeks, then released into the G4 playlist and where mostly live compilations and concerts can be found. Check the Schedule link for play times. Great stuff, ENJOY!

More on the Album:

The Festival Album was the only live set by the Jazz Crusaders not recorded at the Lighthouse. As such, it is a compilation of performances recorded at the Pacific Jazz and Newport Festivals in 1966. The band had two different bass players during these gigs: Jimmy Bond was at the Newport Festival, while Herbie Lewis joined for the Pacific Jazz Festival. The band was well established everywhere but in New York, bewilderingly, and had recorded a dozen records, all of which were popular. And it’s easy to see why. The version of Ken Cox’s “Trance Dance” that opens the set showcases all of the band’s strengths: solid hard bop chops and arrangements with a deep accent on the blues as it was emerging into soul-jazz. Soloists Joe Sample, Wayne Henderson, and Wilton Felder are all in fine form here. The deep groove on “Summer’s Madness” by the trio is actually the signature piece of the Jazz Crusaders’ sound at the time. Sample’s “Freedom Sound,” from the Pacific Jazz gig, illustrates the deep lyricism at the heart of the band’s front line…..Learn More

More on The Jazz Crusaders:

In 1960, following the demise of a few short-lived Houston-based groups called The Swingsters and the Nite Hawks, pianist Joe Sample, drummer Stix Hooper, saxophonist Wilton Felder and trombonist Wayne Henderson relocated to Los Angeles, CA. After changing their name to “The Jazz Crusaders,” the group signed with Pacific Jazz Records, where they would remain throughout the 1960s. Employing a two-manned front-line horn section (trombone and tenor saxophone), the group’s sound was rooted in hard bop, with an emphasis on R&Band soul.

The group shortened their name to “The Crusaders” in 1971, and adopted a jazz-funk style. They also incorporated the electric bass and electric guitar into their music. Bass guitarist Robert “Pops” Popwell and guitarist Larry Carlton joined the band, and featured on the group’s albums throughout most of the 1970s. With this new style came increased crossover appeal, and the group’s recordings started to appear on the Billboard pop charts. The height of the group’s commercial success came with 1979’s Street Life, with Randy Crawford as featuring singer, which peaked at No. 18 on the pop album charts and the title track from the album made the Top 10 on the R&B chart and No. 36 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart……Read More

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