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Actually, the “Jazz Crusaders” has roots going back
to the 1950’s and 1960’s. During the early 1970’s,
they became simply known as “The Crusaders,”
pioneering their own blend of Soul and Pop
genres with Jazz, thereby escalating their fame.

“The Crusaders: Live at Montreux 2003,” is a
DVD released by the Eagle Eye Vision label
during 2008. This 93-minute disc was not a
mere nostalgia outing, but a concert in support
of “Rural Renewal,” their new album. It was the
first album released by the band in several
years. In the interim, founding member and
keyboardist, Joe Sample, had been pursuing
solo projects and playing with various
other musicians.

The Montreux concert was a class act of
smooth Soul-inflected Jazz playing of a high
order. In addition to the aforementioned
Sample on the Wurlitzer electric piano,
the six-member band also included
saxophonist Wilton Felter and
guitarist/singer Ray Parker, Jr., whose
association with The Crusaders dates
back to the 1970’s.

This distinguished group of instrumentalists
was joined by vocalist Randy Crawford who
performed “Street Life,” a hit song she
recorded with The Crusaders in the 1970’s.
She also performed a very personal rendition
of John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

Other songs pulled from the band’s catalogue
included “Viva de Funk,” “Way Back Home,”
and a fun version of Ray Parker Jr.’s “Ghostbusters”
movie theme with participation from the audience.

This concert was well recorded with fine camera
work, making this another quality installment in
this fine series, as well as another opportunity
to broaden my horizons!

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