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Jazz Crusaders: Louisiana Hot Sauce

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The current band called the "Jazz Crusaders" is really the old Crusaders' trombone-tenor sax tandem of Wayne Henderson and Wilton Felder. They still sound great together, but for this album they were searching for a new setting for their trademark duo sound. The result is what has to be the most pervasive, carried-to-an-extreme concept album I've ever seen. The concept is Cajun cookin' (the album is sub-titled "Music for All Kitchens - Extra Hot!"). The theme is carried throughout the music, the song titles, the cover art, and the liner notes. It almost wears out it's welcome, except that the concept works so well and the music is so good.

Typical is "Crawdaddy," which features a darting horn line (reminiscent of "Chain Reaction") with Dixieland clarinet, hard back-beat, and snippets of rappish vocal chanting. Various new and traditional New Orleans influences permeate the album, right alongside heavy, funky programmed beats on all four, occasional rap, and soul vocals. But no matter the setting, Henderson and Felder are instantly recognizable.

Dionne Warwicj is an unlikely guest artist. Her feature sort of breaks the thematic flow of the album (which isn't a bad thing), but it's a nice tune and it's well arranged and executed. She still has it.

Title: Louisiana Hot Sauce | Year Released: 1997 | Record Label: Sin-Drome

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