The Jazz Crusaders: Never Had It So Good


Never Had It So Good


The Jazz Crusaders


Lighthouse ’68 (Pacific 20131)

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Wilton Felder (tenor sax), Wayne Henderson (trombone), Joe Sample (piano), Buster Williams (bass), Stix Hooper (drums).

Composed by Joe Sample


Recorded: Hermosa Beach, California, November 10-13, 1967


Rating: 85/100 (learn more)

Lighthouse ’68 is one of the strongest efforts by the Jazz Crusaders, who often struggled to solidify their identity while straddling jazz’s sub-genres in the eclectic 1960s. Their third go-around at the famed Hermosa Beach club, Lighthouse ’68 presents the Crusaders in a relaxed mood, playing with a Californian ease that is loose and easy-on-the-ears yet thoroughly sophisticated at the same time. This album’s entertaining set is a mixed bag of boogaloo, modal, and soul-jazz all tinged with an ever-present touch of the blues. The group struts through "Never Had It So Good" without a care in the world; Hooper and Williams’ in-the-pocket groove and Sample’s gospel piano fills get the horns and the crowd grooving (listen for the "yelps" and "yeahs"). A most complementary frontline pairing, Felder and Henderson are muscular yet cool with the blues oozing from their horns, washing over the west coast audience with a wave of their Texas soul.

Reviewer: Matt Leskovic


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