A reunion can often be a poignant event, filled with old friends, happy introductions to new faces, and revisions to relational habits; it can also lead to ossification. Rural Renewal exhibits most of these features. Expect nothing new from this album, but if you're a fan of The Crusaders' 1980s music, you'll find more of that sound with this offering.
Every track features the smooth funk grooves that made this group a crossover hit. Everything is exactly in its place, expertly played, and completely cannedready for mass consumption. Eric Clapton appears on two tracks, but even his contributions lack bite or substancefine, not every album made has to be a revelation, and it does seem to be happy reunion. The music rings with familiarity, pleasantry and style, but isn't terribly inspired. These players follow the same formula in both production and content that they created in the '80s, leaving little room for exploration of new ideas. These guys seem to be perfectly content to plow the same field over and over again.
In this reunion there is no revision to relational habits. It has more of the same (with the exception of two 'gospel' pieces featuring singer Donnie McClurkin) smooth freeze-dried funk that made this group famous. I've been listening to this effort for the last month and it still lies there like an inflatable doll. This music was created to perfectly match your sofa...enjoy.
Track Listing: Rural Renewal; Creepin'; Heartland; A Healing Coming On; Sing The Song; Shotgun House
Groove; The Territory;
Greasy Spoon; Viva De Funk; Lazy Sundays; Goin' Home
Personnel: Joe Sample-acoustic pianos, Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer organ; Wilton Felder-tenor saxophone; Stix
drums; Ray Parker, Jr.-guitar; Dean Parks-guitar; Freddie Washington-bass; Steve Baxter-trombone;
Castro-percussion; Arthur Adams-guitar; Eric Clapton-acoustic and electric guitar; Donnie
Sounds of Blackness-vocals
I love jazz because it is in my blood. It is the only original American art form. It is sacred. The greatest musicians are jazz artists.
I was first exposed to jazz in 1961 listening to my father's records of Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Count Basie, Nat King Cole, Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young.
I met Sonny Stitt, Wayne Shorter, Branford Marsalis, Joey Calderazzo, Michael Brecker, Cannonball Adderley, Walter Booker, Dave Liebman, Joe Lovano, George Benson, Mike
Stern, Stanley Turrentine, Billy Harper, Skip Hadden, Charlie Haden.
The best show I ever attended was Joe Lovano with Soundprints at the Wexner Center in Columbus Ohio in 2014.
The first jazz record I bought was Miles Smiles.