One of my favorite jazz musicians Joe Sample, passed away on my birthday September 12, 2014. He was part of the innovative Jazz Crusaders who evolved into "The Crusaders", which were among the upper echelon of jazz bands. Sample spent many years with Stix Hooper, Wayne Henderson, Wilton Felder and at times Larry Carlton. As recently as 2003 Joe Sample won a grammy for his collaboration with long time friend and fellow artist Randy Crawford. It was Ms. Crawford who sang lead vocal on Joe Sample's signature song with the Crusaders "Street Life", which cracked the US top 40 in 1979.
The Crusaders like the late Grover Washington Jr. helped fellow artists who were prevented from releasing work under their own name due to contractual disputes. The Crusaders played a crucial role in getting Bobby Womack's version of "Someday We'll All Be Free" to the public. They also did the same for Bill Withers' "Soul Shadows" and during the great war between Bill Withers and Columbia/Sony records Grover Washington Jr. released Withers' penned "Just The Two Of Us" that skyrocketed to #2 in 1981.
Joe Sample's one time collaboration with B.B. King resulted in the popular "Never Make A Move Too Soon". Joe Sample succumbed to lung cancer. He may be gone but the music will still live on since there is still a body of unreleased work that is still as they say "in the can".