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Jazz with strong funk roots
Tyler Smith | Denver, CO United States | 05/04/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Their last few dreary commercial efforts made people forget that the Crusaders were originally the Jazz Crusaders, and "Scratch" brings out the band's jazz roots, captured in a live setting. The title tune is a powerful set opener. It's R&B/funk flavored, but Wilton Felder on sax and Wayne Henderson on trombone work out strong extended improvisations. It's a party tune that sets the tone for the album: never a dull moment."Way Back Home" and "Hard Times" were staples in the band's repertoire, and both are very well done here, but for me the biggest surprise was the cover of "Eleanor Rigby." An unlikely candidate for a jazz piece, the song nevertheless comes to brand-new life in the hands of the Crusaders, who ditch the faux classical feeling of the original and instead give it a big, swaggering tone. By the time the band heats up, lonely old Eleanor is one swinging lady. It's a classic and deserves to be listened to and played more.I listen to the dreary pop that Joe Sample has been producing since he left the Crusaders, then I put on "Scratch" and I wonder could that possibly be the same pianist. Sample, Felder, Henderson, and Stix Hooper clearly never found the musical inspiration as solo artists that they provided one another as the Crusaders. "Scratch" is a key selection in their large and mostly worthwhile discography."
The (Jazz) Crusaders Never Disappoint!
Joseph DeRosa | Shelton, CT USA | 06/20/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album is a classic...I bought it to replace one that was stolen (along with about 400 other CDs) some years back. The years of growing up together and playing together shine through on this album, evident in the effortless smoothness of these tracks. From the fresh rendition of "Eleanor Rigby" to the flowing "Way Back Home" to the long-held TROMBONE (yes, trombone, NOT saxophone as stated by other reviewers) note by Wayne Henderson on Carole King's "So Far Away", this album never disappoints. The combination of Wayne Henderson's trombone and Wilton Felder's sax create a surprisingly fat sound. And don't forget Stix Hooper (drums), Joe Sample (keyboards), Larry Carlton (guitar), and Max Bennett (bass)."
R. Bland | 11/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A must for a Crusaders fan. One of the best jazz, almost blues- like blends available. You can feel the intimacy of this live recording. Unfortunately, it may have been edited because it is a relatively short recording at about 40 minutes."