(2004) Lighthouse '68

The Jazz Crusaders

... read moreLighthouse '68 is the third date the Jazz Crusaders cut at the popular California venue. Previous outings recorded here, though very fine, carried the sonic weight of a band very aware of their audience and that they were making live records. Here, they get it completely right. Feel is what dictates...

01:13′:33″ 10 Songs

1
Oogo-Boo-Ga-Loo
The Jazz Crusaders
6:55
2
Eleanor Rigby
The Jazz Crusaders
7:43
3
Native Dancer
The Jazz Crusaders
8:57
4
Never Had It So Good
The Jazz Crusaders
7:25
5
The Emperor
The Jazz Crusaders
9:02
6
Impressions
The Jazz Crusaders
6:23
7
Cathy The Cooker (Live)
The Jazz Crusaders
6:21
8
Shadows
The Jazz Crusaders
4:03
9
Tough Talk
The Jazz Crusaders
8:00
10
Third Principle
The Jazz Crusaders
8:44
Released 01 January 2004, ℗ 2004 Blue Note Records

Review

Lighthouse '68 is the third date the Jazz Crusaders cut at the popular California venue. Previous outings recorded here, though very fine, carried the sonic weight of a band very aware of their audience and that they were making live records. Here, they get it completely right. Feel is what dictates the material and its execution on this set, without unnecessary attention paid to crowd or recording apparatus. This is one the most intimate jazz shows captured on tape during the 1960s. It gives record buyers the sound of a band in full possession of their considerable capabilities, celebrating them in a relaxed environment, playing their own brand of grooved-out '60s jazz. What is most apparent is how seamlessly the Jazz Crusaders -- Wilton Felder, Stix Hooper, Joe Sample, Buster Williams, and Wayne Henderson -- wove together hard bopping blues, soul-jazz, Horace Silver's funky rhythmic ideas, and gospel. One listen to the set's opener, "Oogo-Boo-Ga-Loo," with its funky strut and call-and-response chorus, brings the Sunday morning church music to the Saturday discotheque for a workout. As it cascades into "Eleanor Rigby," Sample's solo goes deeply into the blues for his inspiration and comes out with a funky panoply of cadences that are double-timed and stretched out into a loping soul groove by the rhythm section before the horns bring the melody back with finger-popping assent. Sample's street-smart "Never Had It So Good" offers an elongated front line with a summer stroll through a Latin theme before erupting into deep soul. But the kicker is in Buster Williams' compositions. As a jazz composer, Williams was closely aligned with hard bop as it evolved. His expansive rhythms, smooth melodic lines, and tight harmonic palette offered soloists a chance to stretch his grooves further, bringing modality -- as first articulated by Miles Davis' mid-'60s quintet -- and a warm yet expressed sophistication to his tunes (check "Native Dancer" with its Latin tinge and the shimmering melodic pulse of "The Emperor," which gives way to the set's closer, a graceful, profoundly subtle, and gorgeous reading of John Coltrane's "Impressions"). In sum, this record delivers what most records only promise: it literally sings with great musicianship displayed with verve and acumen, along with a warm human feeling that amounts to joy. ~ Thom Jurek