The Music Of Joe Sample

This week we take a look into the music from keyboardist, Joe Sample. Born in Houston Texas, and besides being a keyboardist, pianist, and composer, he is also noted for being one of the founding members of The Jazz Crusaders. He recorded with the group until their final release with Sample in 1991. He enjoyed success with the group, to include a solo career in the mid 1970s, that spawned into the early Millennium.  He is noted for having recorded, and performed with some noted jazz musicians, to include George Benson, Miles Davis, and George Duke, to name a few.

Joe Sample was born February 1,1939, when he began playing the piano at the tender age of 5. He paired with his friends Wilton Felder, who played the saxophone, and Stix Hooper, who played drums for the group. Together they would later be known as The Crusaders. During his musical travel, he later met trombonist Wayne Henderson who also joined the group. He and the group later moved from Houston to Los Angeles, thus finding recording opportunities on the west coast. During that time, The Crusaders had a particular sound that stood out due to Joe Samples guidance. Joe Sample has recorded with some very noteworthy artists, ranging from Joe Cocker, B.B.King, to the sultry songstress Anita Baker, and the late Minnie Ripperton.

After having success in the mid to late 70s, especially a hit they had acquired with,”Streetlife” featuring vocalist Randy Crawford. The Crusaders ended their union in 1987, with the groups final release on the GRP label entitled “Life In The Modern World”. Sample would later return to do several more albums with the group, to include a 2003 release “Urban Renewal”. There are also several solo projects to mention, to include “Sample This”, produced by George Duke, and “The Song Lives On”, a GRP release. Another to mention is “The Pecan Tree”, and in 2004, Sample released “Soul Shadows”, ending with his final release, “Feeling Good”, with vocalist Randy Crawford. His music has been sampled by rap artists, and has been featured in the weather channel.

Joe Sample died from complications of mesothelioma lung disease of September 12, 2014, in his hometown Houston Texas. He was 75 years old.

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