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Gold by The Crusaders
Released: Apr 2007
Label: Hip-O
In 1970, the Jazz Crusaders dropped the "jazz" from their name, plugged in and became a funk band with a bop pedigree. This surprisingly deft two CD retrospective charts their course from funky jazz band to funky R&B act (and smooth jazz progenitors). The first disc is completely essential -- it's also as entertaining as can be -- and comes loaded with live versions of Crusaders numbers. The second disc ends up illustrating how funk and R&B completely erased jazz from the pop music equation, though such hits as "Street Life" and "Soul Shadows" (with guest vocalist Bill Withers) still hold up nicely.
Nick Dedina