The Crusaders was a jazz-pop soul group formed in 1956 in Houston, Texas as The Jazz Crusaders. The band had their first album release in 1961 with . Several albums followed until they in 1971 shortened their name to The Crusaders. The members
of The Crusaders are Joe Sample on keyboards, Wilton Felder on saxophone and bass, Wayne Henderson on trombone and Stix Hooper on drums. After Larry Carlton became a member in the 1970's ,refered to as the "fifth crusade", they became
more fusion oriented.
Wayne Henderson left the band in 1978 to focus on produceing.
The band had their biggest hit with "Street Life", featureing Randy Crawford on vocals. Other notable albums are Live
At The Lighthouse '66, Talk That Talk, Uh Huh, Crusaders 1, Pass The Plate, Chain Reaction, Free As The Wind, Live In Japan and Royal Jam.
After the live album Royal Jam in 1982, Stix Hooper left the band. Some say The Crusaders,
never sounded as The Crusaders there after. Joe Sample disbanded in 1991 after the album Healing The Wounds, only to resurrect the band on occasions. The three original members of The Crusaders played on the 2002 Rural Renewal album.
Wayne Henderson started to use the name Jazz Crusaders again in the 1990's, something Joe Sample objected to. Henderson together with Wilton Felder have released several albums thereafter under the name of The Jazz Crusaders.