The Crusaders

At the Lighthouse

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Recorded in 1962, before Buster Williams joined the band, Victor Gaskin fills the bass chair here and is not credited on the front sleeve with the other members. The program for At the Lighthouse is a series of tunes mostly by the band's members including the hard swinging hard bop of Wayne Henderson's "Congolese Sermon," Joe Sample's fine "Weather Beat," and Stix Hooper's "Blues for Ramona." There is also a fine read of Jackie McLean's "Appointment in Ghana," with its killer head, originally written for trumpet and alto, done beautifully here by Henderson's tough trombone and Wilton Felder's elegant bluesy tenor. Felder's only composition here is the set closer, "Boopie," which begins with a killer swinging bass and piano head before the horns kick in triple-time. Over nine minutes in length, it showcases beautifully the wild yet tight band the Jazz Crusaders were. The sound on the CD is a bit rough given that this was recorded for radio, but it also offers the reason why the band recorded there so often. The vibe is wonderful and the playing deeply inspired.

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