Way Back Home – 2003

The Crusaders

A soulful performance by a later version of the popular group

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The Jazz Crusaders were originally the Swingters, a Houston band which in 1954 was built around pianist Joe Sample, tenor-saxophonist Wilton Felder, trombonist Wayne Henderson, and drummer Stix Hooper plus various bassists and flutist Hubert Laws.

In 1960 as the Jazz Crusaders, Sample, Felder, Henderson and Hooper moved to Los Angeles where they recorded regularly for Pacific Jazz and had success playing soulful hard bop with their distinctive trombone-tenor frontline.

The group dropped the “Jazz” from its name in 1970 as it stretched a bit into r&b.

In 1975 Henderson left the group but it continued for another decade, having a big hit with “Street Life” (featuring Randy Crawford).

Due to personality conflicts, there would for a time be two versions of the group (both featuring Felder); Henderson led the Jazz Crusaders while Sample continued with the Crusaders.

The latter band is featured at a 2003 concert on their earlier tune “Way Back Home”; this group has Sample on electric piano, Felder, trombonist Stephan Baxter, guitarist Ray Parker Jr, bassist Freddie Washington, and drummer Kendrick Scott.

-Scott Yanow


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