(4 / 5)
Joe Sample. Loved him in The Crusaders. Loved him solo when I saw him on a double bill for an outdoor summer show with the great Herbie Hancock. So I am very glad to get my hands on a copy of this two CD set, which offers up three albums from the late ’70s and early ’80s.
First up, his debut solo LP “Rainbow Seeker” from 1978. The pulsating Latin groove of ‘track three, “There Are Many Stops Along The Way” features Ray Parker Jr on guitar.
Disc two here: “Carmel” was released later that same year and featured a more relaxed sound.
The final album in this triple set: “Voices In The Rain” features Joe’s best known solo track, “Burnin’ Up The Carnival”, and vocals by Josie James, Flora Purim and Pauline Wilson.
The package also features three seven-inch single versions of “Melodies Of Love”, “Burnin’ Up The Carnival’ ” and “Dream Of Dreams”, with sleeve notes by music writer Charles Waring.
Joe Sample was a child protege, and by 15 he had become an accomplished jazz pianist,alongside school pals and future colleagues in The Crusaders, Wilton Felder, Wayne Henderson and Nesbert “Stix” Hooper.
They released their first album back in 1962 as The Jazz Crusaders before dropping the ‘Jazz’ from their name. Scoring a global hit with “Street Life”, with lead vocals from Randy Crawford.
Joe was from Texas and died in 2014 at the age of 75. He was a member of The Crusaders from day one until their last album in 1991. Alongside a successful solo career which began in the 1970s.
He was a sought-after special guest on many recordings by other artists and bands, including Miles Davis, George Benson, B. B. King, Eric Clapton, Steely Dan, Joni Mitchell and the Supremes.
He straddled many genres in his music; from jazz, gospel and blues through to Latin and classical. This set is a lovely reminder of a great musician, composer and artist in his own right who perhaps deserves much more credit for his legacy.
By Christopher Weston
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’