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Joe Sample

Among the many jazzmen who all started out using hard bop but went electric powered through the fusion period, Joe Test was, in the later ’50s, a founding person in the Jazz Crusaders along with trombonist Wayne Henderson, tenor saxman Wilton Felder, and drummer Stix Hooper. The Crusaders’ debts to Artwork Blakey’s Jazz Messengers wasn’t hard to miss — except which the L.A.-structured unit had zero trumpeter, and became known because of its exclusive tenor/trombone front side line. Test, a hard-swinging participant who could deal with chordal and modal/scalar improvisation similarly well, stuck towards the acoustic piano through the Crusaders’ early years — but would place higher emphasis on electrical keyboards when the music group considered jazz-funk in the first ’70s and fallen “Jazz” from its name. Though he’d documented like a trio pianist on 1969’s obscure Nice Dance, 1978’s Rainbow Seeker was frequently referred to as his 1st album like a leader. As opposed to the gritty music the Crusaders became known for, Sample’s personal albums on MCA and, later on, Warner Bros. and PRA generally preferred an extremely lyrical and introspective jazz-pop strategy. Sample passed away of mesothelioma in Sept 2014 in Houston, Tx at age 75. In 2015, Sample’s holiday-themed cooperation with vocalist India.Arie, Xmas with Close friends, was posthumously released.

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