Donaldson Toussaint L'Ouverture "Donald" Byrd II (December 9, 1932 – February 4, 2013) was an American jazz and rhythm & blues trumpeter. A sideman for many other jazz musicians of his generation, Byrd was best known as one of the only bebop jazz musicians who successfully pioneered the funk and soul genres while simultaneously remaining a jazz artist.
Although the Crusaders could not have known it at the time, their recording of "Street Life" (which features a memorable vocal by Randy Crawford) was a last hurrah for the 20-year old group. Their recordings of the next few years would decline in interest until the band gradually faded away in the '80s. However this particular set is well worth picking up for the 11-minute title cut and there is good playing by the three original members (Wilton Felder on tenor, soprano and electric bass, keyboardist Joe Sample and drummer Stix Hooper) along with guitarist Barry Finnerty; horn and string sections, plus additional guitarists are utilized on Sample's commercial but listenable arrangements.
This well-rounded set features Monty Alexander exploring his West Indian heritage by utilizing the steel drum of Othello Molineaux and performing both straightahead jazz and calypsos. The music is often quite joyous and even the more familiar material (such as "Work Song," "Stella By Starlight" and a medley of "Impressions" and "So What") sounds fresh. Whether it be the Milt Jackson blues "S.K.J." or the Crusaders' hit "Street Life," this is a very successful outing that is quite enjoyable.
Academy Award, Grammy, and Golden Globe-winning composer Hans Zimmer composed the music for this highly anticipated project, joining forces for the first time with director Zack Snyder.