The music world has lost another legendary artist. Jazz pianist Joe Sample has passed away at the age of 75.
Sample was an extraordinary pianist who went from bebop to soulful jazz and R&B with the Crusaders. According to a Facebook post by his wife and son, Sample died Friday.
“At 9:50pm (Houston, TX time), September 12, 2014, Joe Sample passed,” read the post.
“His wife Yolanda and his son Nicklas would like to thank all of you, his fans and friends, for your prayers and support during this trying time. Please know that Joe was aware and very appreciative of all of your prayers, comments, letters/cards and well wishes.”
Sample’s cause of death hasn’t been announced, but Jazz Line noted that Sample had suffered from a “myriad of health issues” and suffered a heart attack in October 2013.
The Houston Chronicle (Chron.com ) reports that in recent years, Sample, returned to his Houston area roots from Los Angeles.
“Believing the window of opportunity for a reunion was closing he reunited the Jazz Crusaders in 2011. And more recently he formed the Creole Joe Band, which found him picking up the accordion and returning to the zydeco music that inspired him to become a musician.”
“Blues is like the white dust in the neighborhood from the oyster-shell streets,” he told the Chronicle. “It’s a natural thing in this region. Certain things I can play with musicians from here that I cannot play with other musicians from Chicago or Seattle or Boston or New York. They simply do not feel it.”
Joseph Leslie Sample was born in Houston, Texas on February 1, 1939. He learned to play the piano as early as five years old, later attending Texas Southern University to study music. There, he met drummer Stix Hooper, saxophonist Wilton Felder, and trombonist Wayne Henderson, and together they formed the legendary jazz-fusion group The Jazz Crusaders (later known as just The Crusaders). The group released over 40 albums before breaking up in the early 90s. Sample would go on to release over 15 albums as a solo artist.
Joe Sample is survived by his wife Yolanda and son Nicklas.
Enjoy this video of Joe Sample and the Crusaders performing live at Montreux in 2003