Legendary Jazz Pianist, Joe Sample Dies
Joe Sample, a legendary pianist who transitioned from bebop to soulful jazz with the Crusaders died Friday, September 12, according to his Facebook page. He was 75.
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Sample, who has worked with everyone from B.B. King, Steely Dan, Joni Mitchell, Marvin Gaye, Anita Baker, and more, holds writing, production, and performance credits on hundreds of releases and was a leader in transitioning music from bop to soulful jazz.
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Sample formed a bebop band called the Jazz Crusaders. By the 1970s the group dropped the “Jazz” and became an enormously successful crossover act, the Crusaders, who played a form of jazz laced with funk and soul. His work has been sampled by hip hop artists numerous times. One of the most notable was on 2Pac’s “Dear Mama.” Others include songs from Jay-Z and Jon B.
“Blues is like the white dust in the neighborhood from the oyster-shell streets,” he told the Chronicle. “It’s a natural thing in this region. Certain things I can play with musicians from here that I cannot play with other musicians from Chicago or Seattle or Boston or New York. They simply do not feel it.”
Sample was also an in-demand session player in the ’70s, having worked with B.B. King, Steely Dan, Joni Mitchell, Marvin Gaye and numerous others.
Sample is survived by his wife Yolanda and his son Niklas.