It's 1896. Yankel Bogovnik, a Russian Jew, emigrated to the United States three years earlier and has settled where many of his background have, namely on Hester Street on the Lower East Side of New York City.
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.
Tenor saxophonist Harry Allen and pianist Larry Goldings teamed up in the studio on this 12 track collection from the Cafe Society label. While they have played on each other's dates, this is their first full length collaboration. Both men are dedicated in a similar manner to paying homage to swing era melodies and mainstream jazz of the 40s and 50s. For this date, the duo bring several romantic themed originals into the musical fold, one from Allen "I Can See Forever," and eight by Goldings including a re-visit of "Slo Boat," which first appeared on his Whatever It Takes CD. The mood is relaxed yet not moribund. Case in point, Goldings' composition "Benny's Dream," with strings arranged by Vince Mendoza,is heartfelt but doesn't succumb to weepy sentimentalism.