The dawning of this day ushered in the heartbreaking news of Joe Sample’s passing. To say that we’re ‘spellbound’ would be an understatement. We knew that we hadn’t seen much of him in the last few years. No major tours or guest appearances to speak of, but we chalked it up to him working on his next masterpiece. We even stumbled across a photo of him a few months ago that we posted to the Hear What I Hear Facebook page which gave us the thumbs up and reassurance that all was well with Brother Joe. Never in a million years would we have suspected that we would be writing about him today. Truly tomorrow is promised to no one.
More than 25 years ago, compliments of my Pop, I was introduced to the Crusaders and then later to Joe as a solo act. They/he became my very first teachers in the book of jazz. One by one, I ravenously devoured much of their collective works. I became so familiar with their catalog, that I developed a knack for recognizing Joe’s imprint, his style, the finesse he brought to each of his or someone else’s records.
There are two Joe Sample albums that have significantly impacted the way I HEAR music: Carmel and The Song Lives On! I became so intrigued by Carmel that I promised myself that one day I’d visit the Calfornian seaside city and listen to the entire recording while I was there, so that I could experience firsthand why he loved it so. Proudly, I accomplished this feat last summer. And suffice it to say, I too have fallen in love with that place and have vowed to return there as often as the good Lord will allow. The Song Lives On has been played in my car, in my home and on my computer more times than I can ever dream of counting. I’ve unashamedly purchased this cd no less than 8 times, due to excessive use which sometimes borerlined on abuse! All I need to say is Lalah Hathaway and Joe Sample. On the same album. And though I had the privilege of seeing Joe live, my only regret is not seeing them perform this definitive work together.
My music memories of Joe Sample and the jazz lessons he taught me will last a lifetime. As a fan, I’m crushed that one of my musical heroes is gone, but Joe’s ‘Song Will Live On’!
Until Next Time…We’ll Be Praying For The Sample Family And His Friends & Fans Across The Globe,