Trombone maestro Wayne Henderson and crew are still at it, delivering funky, soulful jazz-fusion now close to 35 years. Jazz Crusaders, who also once featured Joe Sample and Larry Carlton, were hot on the scene around the same time as bands like Return to Forever, Weather Report, and The Mahavishnu Orchestra, but they veered away from the more rock and heavy jazz based sounds that these bands favored to a more smooth sound that dipped into pop, soul, and funk. This DVD features the current line-up recorded in Paris in 2002 at the New Morning club. Led by the never aging Henderson, the band features sax player Jean Toussaint, guitarist Tony Remy, bassist David Hughes, Christian Vaughn on keyboards, drummer Tony Mason, and guest vocalist Jean Carne.
The set list is a mix of funky and fiery fusion numbers like the opening jam "Stomp & Buck Dance", which sees the whole band get in plenty of solos, the cover of the Beatles classic "Eleanor Rigby", with some of the more pop & soul flavored tunes like their popular hit "Street Life", "Always There", and "Don't Let It Go To Your Head", the latter getting tons of participation from the audience, and all featuring the talents of singer Jean Carne.
Henderson's husky trombone work is melodic throughout, and the combination of Remy's jazz and blues rock licks add some edge to the band's music. Plus, who can resist the dreamy electric piano sounds from Vaughn, or the nimble and acrobatic rhythm grooves from Mason and Hughes. The band adds plenty of youthful fire to Henderson's veteran presence, and based on this show I can easily see the Jazz Crusaders continuing on into the decade. Though the DVD is pretty sparse (no extras to speak of, just the near 2 hour concert) it's a fun watch.
1) Stomp & Buck Dance
2) Eleanor Rigby
3) Keep That Same Old Feeling
4) What You Don't Do For Love Way Back Home Outro
5) Always There
6) Street Life
7) Closer Than Close
8) Don't Let It Go To Your Head
9) Way Back Home finale