Released: Apr 2007
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.