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Meet Mark Scurlock, Jr. of RADS Krusaders in Downtown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mark Scurlock, Jr.

RADS Krusaders is a jazz band formed together in the summer of 2013 by legendary pianist Joe Sample of the Grammy nominated group, The Crusaders. He, along with group members King Richard Owens, Nic Allen, Yul Dorn Jr., and Mark Scurlock, Jr. put the group together to continue the sound and tradition of the jazz created by the original musicians of 5th Ward. Later, the addition of Ichi and Al Alexander rounded out the group’s sound.

With Joe’s guidance and teachings, they became the dynamic group that seeks to elevate the contemporary jazz movement. They have performed all over Houston as RADS The Krusaders 2.0 until they agreed to shorten their name to RADS Krusaders. RADS is an acronym of the founding four original members of the group.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It definitely has not been a smooth road. The road we have taken as a group has been one where we were trying to find our sound; what makes us unique to the jazz genre. We locked on a sound that was completely different from anybody we have listened to at the time. We took that idea of having that edgy, creative sound and make it unique to us. We call it creole jazz. What made this even more challenging is that our sound was very hard to place on radio stations. We were not quite smooth jazz and not quite traditional jazz. Jazz music bloggers could not quite make a solid pinpoint to our music. We decided to take the chance and blend our music between both styles of jazz and see where it goes from there. Happy to report that we have placed starting at 304 in the jazz charts to now 146 currently with our album, “Going Way Back Home”.

RADS Krusaders – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We are a breaking jazz group that specializes in “the groove”, period. We are known for our history as the second generation of groove masters, The Crusaders. We have been endowed with a special task to keep the name of The Crusaders going while finding and pushing our own unique sound that channels all of the spectrums of jazz. We don’t follow the traditional rules of jazz, so to say. We break outside the boundaries of jazz and take it to new heights. That’s what makes us unique. As we say, “We can bop you to death, but choose not to.” We want people to groove to the music as much as we groove to it ourselves. We are happy with the outcome of taking risks into uncharted territories. This has led us to take on tasks such as opening for Spyro Gyra and Lee Ritenour as well as opening for legendary saxophonist Najee at the Catalina Island JazzTrax Festival in Avalon, CA in October. We don’t plan on changing anything.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
The proudest moment is definitely being selected to open for legendary saxophonist Najee at our 1st major jazz festival, The Catalina Island JazzTrax Festival in Avalon, CA. It will take place on an island an hour off the coast of Long Beach.

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