It's been more than two decades since keyboardist Joe Sample, drummer Stix Hooper, and saxophonist Wilton Felder recorded together, but this reunion is no romp down memory lane.

It's been more than two decades since keyboardist Joe Sample, drummer Stix Hooper, and saxophonist Wilton Felder recorded together, but this reunion is no romp down memory lane. Instead, the group (which debuted in the early 1960s) has laid down a slick, contemporary, and poignant ode to their jazz and R&B roots and to the subsequent generations that have inherited their spiritual and musical legacy. Guests include Eric Clapton and Sounds of Blackness, but ultimately it is the purity of the Crusaders' mix of jazz improvisations and warm, soulful grooves that make the strongest statements of longevity and unity. With luck, today's youth will listen and take these timeless lessons to heart.—SG