Album Remarks & Appraisals:
In 1971, the Jazz Crusaders changed their name to the Crusaders - not because they were turning their backs on jazz, but to acknowledge an expanding musical palette that incorporated funk, rock, and other elements. 'Crusaders 1' is the album that introduced their new name and their new sound. With electric keyboards, bass, and guitars added to the mix, 'Crusaders 1' made it clear that this veteran ensemble knew how to stay contemporary. Highlights include Sample's dance-floor classic 'Put It Where You Want It' and an extended exploration of Carole King's 'So Far Away.'
The Crusaders: Wilton Felder (tenor saxophone, bass guitar); Wayne Henderson (trombone); Joe Sample (keyboards); Nesbert Hooper Jr. (drums, percussion).
Additional personnel: David T. Walker (guitar); Chuck Rainey (bass guitar); Larry Carlton, Arthur Adams .
Formed in 1954 as a post-bop combo, the Crusaders metamorphosed into a soul jazz outfit in the 1960s; by the time of this album's release in 1971, they'd become a byword for instrumental jazz-funk fusion. "Put It Where You Want It" was a signature hit for the band with its artful blend of R&B riffing, funky electric piano, and Wilton Felder's hot-yet-sophisticated saxophone soloing. The low-key "Mosadi" provided a template for later practitioners of the down-tempo jazz-R&B hybrid known as Quiet Storm, while the atmospheric "That's How I Feel" takes the New Orleans funk of the Meters as a springboard for its jazzy excursions.
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