Wayne Henderson (tb), Wilton Felder (ts), Joe Sample (p), Victor Gaskin (b), Nesbert 'Stix' Hooper (d)
Reference: FSRCD 807
Fresh and spirited, the Jazz Crusaders were one of the best exponents of the fast moving Los Angeles soul jazz scene of the early 60s. Firmly rooted in tradition, yet they radiated a stimulatingly youthful exuberance evident in these extrovert live recordings at the famous Lighthouse in August 1962, and in three studio recordings from a few weeks later.
The programwith the exception of Jackie McLeans Appointment in Ghana relied primarily upon the groups challenging record library. Felder, as many Texas tenor men do, seasoned his hard, sinewy sound with a driving blues approach and a pinch of soul. Trombonist Hendersons attack is clean and his sound rich and full of colour. A really cohesive rhythm section featuring pianist Joe Samples very personal solo style, is anchored by young bassist Victor Gaskin subtle strength and infectiously booming, fat sound; he had recently arrived from New York to become the second bassist associated with the group since the original member, Jimmy Bond, left in the summer of 1962. And on drums, Stix Hooper plays hard without overwhelming his colleagues. That the Jazz Crusaders stirred great excitement within their audience is clear in this buoyant set of powerful in-person performances.
"A number of years ago, Mosaic Records put out a multi-disc set of the Pacific Jazz Studio Sessions of the prototypical jazz/soul group The Crusaders. I remember my frustration back then when I realized they left out the cooking At the Lighthouse 62 album. What, were they in a bad mood or something, not to make the set complete?
Well, heres that concert disc at last, along with 3 hot little songs from The Thing. Recorded August 5, 1962 and actually released in 63, the album with charter members Wayne Henderson/tb, Wilton Felder/ts, Joe Sample/p, Stix Hooper/dr and recent arrival Victor Gaskin/b delivering the goods on seven self-penned tunes and Jackie McLeans adventurous Appointment in Ghana. Hooper drives the band like hes on the wagon train from Red River, keeping the horses moving at a fervent clip, as on Congolese Sermon and Weather Beat. Henderson and Felder sound authoritative on Cathys Dilemma and the funk factor is high on Blues For Ramona. Sample has some fun on the bonus track Penny Blue and the whole band gels in a rivulet of a groove on Scandalizing. A perfect meld of toe tapping and soulful bop."
George W. Harris (February 24, 2014)