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Showing posts with label Jazz-Soul. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jazz-Soul. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Jazz Crusaders (a.k.a. The Crusaders)



The Crusaders were formed in 1960 in Houston, Texas, U.S.A.

The group comprised of:

Joe Sample (b. Joseph Leslie 'Joe' Sample, 1st February 1939, Houston, Texas, U.S.A. - keyboards)
Wilton Felder (b. Wilton Lewis Felder, 31st August 1940, Houston, Texas, U.S.A. - tenor sax)
Stix Hooper (b. Nesbert 'Stix' Hooper, 15th August 1938, Houston, Texas, U.S.A. - drums)
Robert 'Pops' Popwell (b. Robert Popwell, 29th December 1950, Daytona, Florida, U.S.A. - bass guitar)
Wayne Henderson (b. 24th September 1939, Houston, Texas, U.S.A. - trombone)

The Crusaders hail from Houston in Texas. Since 1961, the group (under various names) have released more than forty albums, 19 of which were recorded under the name 'The Jazz Crusaders' (in betweeen 1961 and 1970). In 1954, keyboards player, Joe Sample teamed up with high-school friends, tenor saxophonist Wilton Felder and drummer Stix Hooper to, originally, form the Swingsters. The group first played together in high school before relocating to Los Angeles in the early '60's. As the Swingsters, they were joined by trombonist Wayne Henderson, flautist Hubert Laws, and bassist Henry Wilson and the group became the Modern Jazz Sextet. The group then changed their name to the Jazz Crusaders.

The Jazz Crusaders signed with the Pacific Jazz label, where they remained for a decade, before simplifying their name to the Crusaders in 1971. Their Early Pacific Jazz albums included 'Freedom Sound', 'Lookin Ahead', 'At The Lighthouse' and 'Tough Talk'. The Crusaders first album was entitled 'Pass The Plate' for the Chisa imprint, which was followed by a label change, to Blue Thumb/ABC, and a second album release, confusingly entitled 'Crusaders 1'. In 1972, they released '2nd Crusade', followed by 'Hollywood' (in 1973), 'Unsung Heroes' (in 1973) and 'Scratch' (in 1974). By 1974, they had incorporated the electric bass and electric guitar into their music. Bass guitarist 'Pops' Popwell and guitarist Larry Carlton joined the band, and featured on the group's albums throughout the latter part of the 1970's. They developed a more crossover, jazz-funk style of appeal, and the group's recordings started to appear on the Billboard pop charts.

Joe Sample performed various extra curricular performances for many Soul artists, along with some soft Rock artists including Joni Mitchell ('Free Man In Paris'). Further albums, 'Southern Comfort' (in 1974), 'Chain Reaction' (in 1975, including 'I Felt The Love'), and 'Those Southern Knights' (in 1976, including 'Spiral' and 'Keep That Same Old Feeling') were released before Wayne Henderson left the group to pursue solo recordings and production activities. The Crusaders recorded two more ABC albums, 'Free As The Wind' (1977) and 'Images' (1978) before the label merged with MCA. Pops Powell then left the group, and the Crusaders began to introduce vocals into their recordings.

The height of the group's commercial success came with 1979's 'Street Life', which peaked at number 18 on the pop album charts, and the title track from the album made the Top 10 on the R & B chart and number 36 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart. The song featured the vocals of Randy Crawford, whose album 'Now We May Begin' the group produced and played on in 1980. Also in 1980 they employed the vocal skills of Bill Withers on 'Soul Shadows' for their new album 'Rhapsody & Blues'. In 1981, 'I'm So Glad I'm Standing Here Today' featuring the vocals of Joe Cocker, reached the U.K. Top 75. In 1982 the Crusaders produced 'Don't Take Your Love To Hollywood' for Kelly Marie. Another founding member, Stix Hooper, left the group in 1983 and three more albums were recorded in the mid-1980's. Stix Hoopper was replaced with drummer Ndugu, and returned with the album 'Ghetto Blaster' in 1984, (including 'Night Ladies' - U.K. Top 75).

In the meantime Will and Joe both recorded solo albums. Ndugu performed on a final Crusaders album for MCA, 'The Good And Bad Times', which was released in 1986, and included 'The Way It Goes' featuring Nancy Wilson. In 1988, the group released 'Life In THe Modern World', that featured vocal and writing contributions from Ivan Lins ('Life In The Modern World' and 'Some People Never Learn') and Lamont Dozier ('Let Me Prove Myself Tonight'). In the 1990's, the group, for the most part, had disbanded. Wayne Henderson and Wilton Felder did, however, have a reunion as the Crusaders. In 2003, founding members Joe Sample, Wilton Felder and Stix Hooper revived The Crusaders and released 'Rural Renewal'. Ray Parker Jr. and Eric Clapton played guitar on the album. Also in 2003, a Wayne Henderson-led Jazz Crusaders released 'Soul Axess'. The Jazz Crusaders have released six albums since 1995. Joe Sample is still pursuing a successful solo career, and is recording again with Randy Crawford (two albums in 2006 and 2008 respectively).

Discography

as the Jazz Crusaders:


as the Crusaders:
Compilations:

The Vocal Album (1987)

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