Keyboardist Joe Sample, saxist Wilton Felder, drummer Stix Hooper and producer Stewart Levine are helping to rekindle the magic and feeling they felt when they were together as The Crusaders. That feeling is back in Rural Renewal
as they get help from past Crusaders Arthur Adams, Lenny Castro and Dean Parks. These people have a signature sound they has stood the test of time, but also take that sound in new directions that make them even more important today.
In the 60's, The Jazz Crusaders made their names known through the way they moved jazz away from just the quartet or big band mode and came up with something different. In the 70's, they dropped the Jazz name out of the group to help bring in the soul music aspect to their sound. It was then that they knew they had something special. There is plenty of that on Rural Renewal
, where that spirit is back in full force.
Not only do The Crusaders present their trombone-sax frontline on Rural Renewal
, there are also some surprises as well. Guitarist Eric Clapton performs on two tracks, with acoustic guitar on the title track and Creepin'
on electric. The gospel tinged track A Healing Coming On
that brings a healing message to what happened in the US on September 11th, 2001 features the Sounds of Blackness and contemporary gospel vocalist Donnie McClurkin, who also performs on the track Sing the Song
Two special people join The Crusaders on Rural Renewal
to fill out the main group. Freddie Washington and Ray Parker Jr. (yes, that Ray Parker Jr. of Raydio and Ghostbusters
fame) bring their Cosmic Groove hats on to make this version of The Crusaders very special. If you have seen them on their tour this summer, they sound even better on Rural Renewal
. It is a renewal, of the spirit and of the magic.