Wilton Felder (born Wilton Lewis Felder, 31st August 1940, Houston, Texas) is a saxophonist and bassist, and is best known as a founding member of The Crusaders, initially called the Jazz Crusaders. Felder, Wayne Henderson, Joe Sample, and Stix Hooper founded the group while in high school in Houston. The Jazz Crusaders evolved from a straight-ahead jazz combo into a pioneering jazz-rock fusion group, with a definite soul music influence. Felder worked with the original group for over thirty years, and continues to work in its current versions, which often feature other founding members.
Felder also worked as a west coast studio musician, mostly playing electric bass, for various soul and R&B musicians, and was one of the in-house bass players for Motown Records, when the record label opened up operations in Los Angeles, California, in the early 1970s. He played on recordings by the Jackson 5 such as "I Want You Back", and for Marvin Gaye. He has also played bass for soft rock groups like America, and Seals and Crofts. Also of note was his contribution to the John Cale album, Paris 1919, and Billy Joel's Piano Man and Streetlife Serenade albums. Felder also anchored albums by Joni Mitchell and Michael Franks.
His solo album, Secrets, reached number seventy-seven in the U.K. Albums Chart in 1985.
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