I was first (unknowingly) exposed to jazz as a kid in the early 1980’s. I do not remember too much about that night. I do know I was at a Golden State Warriors basketball game. I do not know who they were playing, nor can I name any of the players on the team back then. I really do not know exactly how old I was, just that I was around eight, maybe. During the timeouts they play music, and I remember “Street Life” by the Crusaders was playing and I was enthralled by all of the different sounds the musicians were playing. Of course Randy Crawford’s vocals stand out, but more than that, the lyrics of the song encapsulated whole scene. Basketball is a game played on the streets, and the players often come from the streets, so it all just fit. “Street Life, because there’s no place I can go, Street Life, the only place I know.” This is an ensemble band, so each instrument had their own solo in the track, so I was able to hear each instrument “featured.” This was interesting to me because I was taught at an early age to hear each instrument individually in every song. This along with the fact that I heard this song through the arena sound system made it even more captivating for me. It is funny because I can still imagine myself being in the arena at the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum Complex.
Their style is more jazz/funk, which I absolutely love, and I believe this band set the stage for other jazz/funk outfits such as Incognito and Down To The Bone.
I would later come to know the work some of the individuals in the band, namely Joe Sample, Wayne Henderson and Larry Carlton, all contributing their own style in the jazz world.
Recently I went back to listen to the whole album……Great Stuff.
I have included the link above of you would like to listen for the first time, or to rediscover this gem!