Courtesy of complex.com
Announced on the iconic jazz pianists’ website, Joe Sample’s wife and son offered fans sympathy along with the news of his death. “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 your prayers, comments, letters/cards and well wishes,” the Facebook post read. He passed away in Houston, Texas on Friday at the age of 75. Although the cause of death has yet to be confirmed, the pianist’s health had been declining as a result of sev he suffered heart attacks in 1994 and 2009, and had been hospitalized with pneumonia last year. The pianist was hospitalized last year with pneumonia after suffering from ongoing health issues, including heart attacks in 1994 and 2009.
Sample started out playing with the Jazz Crusaders, a band he formed with some of his classmates in the mid 50’s while studying at Texas Southern University; Wilton Felder on saxophone, Wayne Henderson on trombone, Stix Hooper on drums, as well as others. Together, they moved to Southern California where they recorded their debut album, Freedom Sound in 1961. The group later became known as The Crusaders when they changed their sound to encompass more R ‘n’ B and funk by putting Sample on electric keyboards, and by adding electric bass and guitar. They continued to release over forty albums, nineteen of which secured themselves slots on the Billboard 200 chart during the group’s ten-year stint. Their sound encompassed
Sample played with The Crusaders until they released their 1991 album, Healing Wounds, after which, he continued his career as a solo artist, releasing 21 solo albums via Warner Bros. His legendary status is a result of his revolutionizing fusion jazz music from the 60’s and 70’s and onward. Not only as a session player, but also as a composer and keyboardist, he worked with fellow high profile musicians, recording on classic pop-rock albums, such as Joni Mitchell (recording on Court & Spark), Miles Davis, Marvin Gaye (recording on Let’s Get It On), Anita Baker, Tina Turner, Steely Dan, B.B. King, Eric Clapton, The Supremes, and Canned Heat. He even co-wrote the song Nicole Kidman performed in the 2001 film Moulin Rouge! entitled “One Day I’ll Fly Away.” Until recently, Sample was touring with his new group, the Creole Joe Zydeco Band, in Europe, while also collaborating with Jonathan Brooke, a New England folk singer, on a biography of Henriette DeLille, a 19th century New Orleans nun, over the past sixteen years. Our hearts go out to the family and friends of legendary musician Joe Sample. RIP.