Canadian brass rock band Lighthouse were formed in Toronto 1969. Unusually, the band leader Ronn "Skip" Prokop was a drummer, he has played previously with artists such as Janis Joplin, Carlos Santana and Al Kooper before forming his first band The Paupers. Of these, the Kooper connection is probably the most significant, as the music of Lighthouse is based around a solid brass section and big arrangements, similar to those of Blood Sweat And Tears and Chigago (Transit Authority). Prokop's ambitions were made clear from the outset when the first line up of Lighthouse had no less than 11 members. The were quickly picked up by RCA Victor, who release the bands self titled debut in 1969.
One of Canada's most original brass groups ever, Lighthouse was formed in Toronto early in 1969 when drummer Skip Prokop (ex of The Paupers, Janis Joplin, Al Kooper and Carlos Santana) had a vision of incorporating horns and strings with modern rock, sort of a heavy-hitting 'big band' sound. After a chance meeting in New York with Paul Hoffert - who was actually trained in more classical stylings and already an established sessions-player. Ralph Cole joined soon after. Originally a native of Kalamazoo, Michigan, Cole knew Prokop when he was in Thyme, who had actually performed on many bills with The Paupers during the latter half of the decade…
Because the Jazz Crusaders in the early '70s dropped the "Jazz" from their name and later in the decade veered much closer to R&B and pop music than they had earlier, it is easy to forget just how strong a jazz group they were in the 1960s. This CD reissues one of their rarer sessions, augmenting the original seven-song LP program (highlighted by "Blues Up Tight," "Doin' That Thing," and "Milestones") with previously unissued versions of "'Round Midnight" and John Coltrane's "Some Other Blues." The Jazz Crusaders (comprised of tenor saxophonist Wilton Felder, trombonist Wayne Henderson, pianist Joe Sample, drummer Stix Hooper, and, during this period, bassist Leroy Vinnegar) are heard in prime form.
Some of Grant Green's hottest moments as a jazz-funk bandleader came on his live records of the era, which were filled with extended, smoking grooves and gritty ensemble interplay. Live at the Lighthouse makes a fine companion piece to the excellent Alive!, though there are some subtle differences which give the album its own distinct flavor. For starters, the average track length is even greater, with four of the six jams clocking in at over 12 minutes. That makes it easy to get lost in the grooves as the musicians ride and work them over.
On their second album, 1969's "Suite Feeling", Lighthouse reached the height of their most experimental phase. Particularly on the ten-minute instrumental "Places on Faces Four Blue Carpet Traces," the jazz-rock-classical ensemble stretched out with graceful, passionate improvisations that had seldom been heard in rock arrangements. Other songs such as "Feel So Good," "Places on Faces," and "Could You Be Concerned" were among the most popular staples of their early concerts, which established them as favorites on North America's mushrooming rock festival circuit. The record also featured some of their most classical-influenced pieces, "Presents of Presence" and "Taking a Walk." They also put their individual stamp on covers of the Band's "Chest Fever" and, most adventurously of all, the Beatles' "A Day in the Life."