In the summer of 1958 the Jazz Crusaders, including Joe Sample-keyboards, Wilton Felder-saxophone, and Wayne Henderson-trombone, left their hometown of Houston, Texas for the dream of a recording contract in Los Angeles. In May of 1961 they recorded their first album for Pacific Jazz Records, FREEDOM SOUND, which went on to sell over 50,000 copies - a milestone for any recording in 1961-62, let alone a jazz recording. The success of the album helped launch the Jazz Crusaders as one of the most distinct jazz groups of the era. The group continued with a long string of equally successful recordings throughout the decade, and led to their emergence as seminal leaders of contemporary jazz.

At a time when most of the jazz community was caught up in the "free jazz" movement of the '60's, they combined the sonic elements of Wilton's saxophone, Wayne's trombone, with the distinctive piano of Joe, to combine r&b, gospel, "juke joint," and jazz, to create their own style of songwriting and playing. While firmly rooted in jazz they still knew how to write a melody, and make people dance.

In 2010 Joe Sample, Wayne Henderson and Wilton Felder reunited as the Jazz Crusaders, for the first time since 1974. The music and their performance pay homage to the rich catalogue of material that they recorded and performed throughout the '60's and early 1970's.

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