We were sad to learn over the weekend about the passing of Jazz great Joe Sample.
Joe Sample Passes At 75 From Mesothelioma
His death was confirmed by his family via a posting on Facebook:
Our thoughts and prayers are definitely with his loved ones
According to New York Times reports:
Joe Sample, who became a jazz star in the 1960s as the pianist with the Jazz Crusaders and an even bigger star a decade later when he began playing electric keyboards and the group simplified its name to the Crusaders, died on Friday in Houston. He was 75.
The cause was mesothelioma, said his manager, Patrick Rains.
The Crusaders had numerous hit albums and one Top 40 single, “Street Life,” which reached No. 36 on the Billboard pop chart in 1979. Mr. Sample wrote the music and Will Jennings wrote the lyrics, which were sung by Randy Crawford.
By the late 1980s Mr. Sample was focusing on his solo career, which had begun with the 1969 trio album “Fancy Dance” and included mellow pop-jazz records like “Carmel” (1979).
His later albums included the unaccompanied “Soul Shadows” (2008). His last album, “Children of the Sun,” is to be released this fall.
He also maintained a busy career as a studio musician. Among the albums on which his keyboard work can be heard are Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” Joni Mitchell’s “Court and Spark” and “The Hissing of Summer Lawns,” Tina Turner’s “Private Dancer,” Steely Dan’s “Aja” and “Gaucho,” and several recordings by B. B. King.
His music has been sampled on numerous hip-hop records, most notably Tupac Shakur’s “Dear Mama.”
Joseph Leslie Sample was born on Feb. 1, 1939, in Houston, the fourth of five siblings, and began playing piano when he was 5. His survivors include his wife, Yolanda; his son, Nicklas, a jazz bassist with whom he occasionally performed; three stepsons, Jamerson III, Justin and Jordan Berry; six grandchildren; and a sister, Julia Goolsby.
For those in the Houston area interested in attending his funeral, his family has also posted that information: