Originating in a Houston high-school marching band in the 1950s, the Jazz Crusaders came up with an innovative blend of hard bop and Texas R&B, meeting with modest commercial success. Then around 1970, shortening their name to the Crusaders and stirring in elements of pop, funk, and rock, the band scored a slew of hits throughout the decade, including "Put It Where You Want It," and "Street Life." Although a lot of musicians have played under the Crusaders' moniker over the years, the essential band remains pianist Joe Sample, tenor sax/bassist Wilton Felder, drummer Stix Hooper, and trombonist Wayne Henderson. Sample, who has had a successful solo career, and Henderson, who left the group to concentrate on production, have both led variations of the band, but haven't played together under the Crusaders' name for more than three decades. Until now. Although still highly anticipated, the reunion shows lack Hooper, who has given up professional music, and Felder, who reportedly began rehearsals with the reunited group but has experienced partial paralysis due to growths on his spine. The lineup at the Dakota will be Sample, Henderson, saxophonist Gerald Albright, bassist Reggie Sullivan, and drummer Moyes Lucas, who also plays in Sample's trio.
Thursdays, Fridays, 7 & 9:30 p.m. Starts: Sept. 16. Continues through Sept. 17, 2010