Alive in South Africa
It seems unlikely that the original Jazz Crusaders—trombonist Wayne Henderson, saxophonist Wilton Felder, pianist Joe Sample and drummer Stix Hooper—will ever reunite. There have been recent works by all four artists using both the Jazz Crusaders and Crusaders names, however. This latest one, recorded live on stage in Moretele Park in Johannesburg, spotlights Henderson and Felder in a funky and jazzy mood, natch, rolling out classics like “Stomp and Buck Dance,” “Scratch,” “Life in the City” and “Inherit the Wind.”
These Jazz Crusaders have pretty good substitutes for Sample and Hooper with Bobby Lyle on piano and Tony St. James on drums. And South African icon Hugh Masekela shows up for a flugelhorn solo, while elsewhere Allen Hinds and Morris O’Connor jam on guitar solos.
The CD is pretty typical as far as live projects go, and it’s the two bonus tracks that may get the most attention. “Mandingo Black” and “Brighter Day,” both written by Henderson and featuring Ronnie Laws on sax, are both recorded in the studio and referred to by Henderson as “jazzip-hop.” The former is a bouncy ditty with handclaps, while the latter is a slow groove with rapping.