R.I.P. Crusaders founder and "Looking Up To You" hitmaker Wilton Felder

(September 28, 2015) Wilton Felder, founding member of The Crusaders and creator of the smash 1983 hit “(No Matter How High I Get) I’ll Still be Looking Up To You,” has died at age 75.

Felder was a dual threat, establishing himself as a top drawer saxophone player and bassist. And he fashioned a career both in the R&B and jazz worlds. The Houston born Felder moved to Los Angeles as a young adult and teamed with Wayne Henderson, Joe Sample, and Stix Hooper to form The Jazz Crusaders. He also became a session musician extraordinaire, playing bass or sax behind a “who’s who” of artists ranging from The Jackson 5 to Nancy Wilson to Marvin Gaye to Bill Withers.

(September 28, 2015) Wilton Felder, founding member of The Crusaders and creator of the smash 1983 hit “(No Matter How High I Get) I’ll Still be Looking Up To You,” has died at age 75.

Felder was a dual threat, establishing himself as a top drawer saxophone player and bassist. And he fashioned a career both in the R&B and jazz worlds. The Houston born Felder moved to Los Angeles as a young adult and teamed with Wayne Henderson, Joe Sample, and Stix Hooper to form The Jazz Crusaders. He also became a session musician extraordinaire, playing bass or sax behind a “who’s who” of artists ranging from The Jackson 5 to Nancy Wilson to Marvin Gaye to Bill Withers.

The Jazz Crusaders later changed their name to simply The Crusaders, and achieved great success over three decades together, hitting #1 with the song “Street Life” featuring Randy Crawford.  That set up Felder for his own signature hit, “(No Matter How High I Get) I’ll Still be Looking Up To You,” which featured a rejuvenated Bobby Womack along with Alltrinna Grayson.

Wilton Felder was a brilliant musician who, despite his seminal work with The Crusaders and his nine solo albums, never quite received the shine he deserved. But we will all (some unknowingly) be enjoying his amazing career of music for decades to come. Rest in peace, Wilton.

By Chris Rizik

 
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