R.A.D.S. The Krusaders II.0

 

A hydra-like concoction of changing time meters and invisibly fast instrumental gambits, 'Zip File' is a moving paean to the original Crusaders and a sure step onward for jazz fusion.
 

A band founded by legendary jazz pianist Joe Sample couldn’t possibly be anything but spectacular, and R.A.D.S. The Krusaders II.0 does not fail expectation. Masters of the fusion form, the instrumental prowess of the group is so well-evident in the character of new single 'Zip File' that its singular genius as a song is almost suppressed to background appreciation. Listen twice, then be prepared to spend more time moving laterally about the album '...In Session' - a stellar effort that should command the attention of a whole evening for its careful digestion. Sample sadly passed away last year, but the band was kind enough to give independent reporter Alexis Adams some time to talk about where they came from, how they developed as musicians, and where they aim to take the adventures of art in the coming years.

ALEXIS: When did you first get that feeling that your music career was gaining momentum?
R.A.D.S. THE KRUSADERS II.0: Before the time we were introduced to the city of Houston as a new group coming out being created and mentored by the late jazz pianist and original member of the Jazz Crusaders/The Crusaders, Joe Sample, we felt the people holding their breath. Once we founded the name of the band after several changes, the word on the street was the Crusaders were coming back. This sent a shockwave to the older community. Little did the people know, there were these young handsome guys with Joe Sample. By the second performance, we opened up for a jazz appreciation month series hosted by a local radio station. The house was seriously crowded! The most overwhelming part to that performance was the mixed crowd that was drawn. There were young and old and all different type of races. Locally, we continued to move up with numerous performances and different music awards.

ALEXIS: Your song 'Zip File' is receiving a positive listener response on radio. What was your initial reaction when you first heard your song playing on radio?
R.A.D.S. THE KRUSADERS II.0: We first heard the song played on KTSU 90.9FM The Choice, a local Jazz station in Houston, TX. We were so excited to just hear it being played on the radio. We really didn't listen to the song at all. The amazing thing was the love received from the listeners of Houston, accepting this new sound and that odd meter feeling. The current deejay at the time told us she was getting call after call requesting the song, saying this new rock sound is cool.

ALEXIS: What was the inspiration behind your debut radio single?
R.A.D.S. THE KRUSADERS II.0: ‘Zip File’ is inspired by the original Jazz Crusaders. The hard-hitting groove and multiple time changes represent the sound in a monumental fashion to show how Jazz music has evolved unto today.

ALEXIS: It is often said that great art arises from difficult experience. Is there something in your life experience thus far that you would describe as the ‘catalyst’ or ‘fuel’ for your desire to create music?
R.A.D.S. THE KRUSADERS II.0: It was really hard to play once Nic Allen (bass and leader) brought it to the band. It was just this bass line and melody. As time went on, we practiced it, but never seem to have it just come together. Joe Sample listened to the song on our first recording of it and thought it was horrible. On the second try, he said to ‘stretch the song’. You guys are not sure what you are doing with this song. On our seventh try, he said that this is one of the most hard grooving 7/4 meters he has ever heard. ‘You have a hit on your hands,’ Joe said. Afterwards, things got really good.

ALEXIS: How would you characterize yourself as an artist/musician? (Ex. Down-to-earth, serious, fun-loving, complicated…)
R.A.D.S. THE KRUSADERS II.0: We consider ourselves as characters: fun-loving, harmless comedians. Our music represents the discord of personality; however, the complex harmony shows how we come together to groove and play. It's a happy feeling.

   

ALEXIS: What has your experience been like working with the other people on your team?
R.A.D.S. THE KRUSADERS II.0: Nic Allen: We are brothers: we fight and argue; we disagree musically, but we have a strong chemistry that’ hard to explain. We work wonderfully by allowing everyone to do what they do best. Yuldorn, Jr.: The experience has been very exciting. As a young teen, I always said that I want to play music as a professional musician and record albums and go on tours. The years this band has been together displays that we have achieved so much and are looking to do more. The most exciting part was the opportunity to record with Joe Sample. Having a music giant like Joe to critique and give us advice on our first album so that we can deliver the best product possible is a one-of-a-kind experience.

ALEXIS: Did you come from a musical background? Are there other musicians in your family?
R.A.D.S. THE KRUSADERS II.0: We all have an interesting background. Musically, we are different, which possibly gave us our unique sound. We all met in college and were brought together by Joe and myself. Mark Scurlock, Jr. is from Jackson, MS, the home of the Delta Blues; Nic Allen is from New Orleans, LA, home of the brass band and traditional Jazz; Ichi is from Japan, bringing the strict discipline of his culture; King Richard Owens is from Chicago, IL, home of Chicago-style blues; Yul Dorn, Jr. is from San Francisco, CA, the home of grooves and that smooth "pimp like" sound.

ALEXIS: What do you find most rewarding about being an artist? What do you find most challenging?
R.A.D.S. THE KRUSADERS II.0: Mark Scurlock, Jr.: It's rewarding to see the joy on people's faces as they vibe and groove to our music. Knowing that people still find joy in live music makes the entire experience all the more rewarding. Richard: The challenges in this organization are upholding what we learned in the legacy of Joe Sample:; how to groove, hold a great tempo, etc.

ALEXIS: Who are your role models in music?
R.A.D.S. THE KRUSADERS II.0: Mark: Kirk Whalum & Sonny Rollins Richard: Phil Crews and Steve Turre Nic: Ray Brown and Quincy Jones ICHI: Grant Green and George Benson Yul: Clyde Stubblefield and Justin Brown

ALEXIS: Describe your best or most memorable performance.
R.A.D.S. THE KRUSADERS II.0: Nic: Our most memorable performance was our last performance with Joe Sample. Since his passing, it's been hard to fill that piano spot. We were kind of spoiled. Ichi: To have thousands of people to go wild when you begin to play a well-known song and they start shouting your name is the best.

ALEXIS: What advice would you give to young, aspiring artists out there who are unsure and need guidance?
R.A.D.S. THE KRUSADERS II.0: Nic: Learn as much as you can, know your history. We are living in a world where it seems like everything is done; now you have to make what's done better. Challenge yourself, not the music industry. Richard: I would say practice hard, study hard, and never give up on your dreams.

ALEXIS: What's next for you as an artist? Is there a new single in the works? If so, what can you tell us about it?
R.A.D.S. THE KRUSADERS II.0: We are going to continue to work hard on our craft and keep producing great feeling music people can relate to. Our ultimate goal is to achieve some monumental moments and groundbreaking music. Last, but not least, to win one Grammy for the sake of the name 'The Crusaders' and all its past members. That group was the engine for most of the instrumental and vocal music of today and that name deserves an award.

ALEXIS: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us. We're certain the group will continue to prosper even without Joe, and we expect to hear great things in the coming year!

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