Over the weekend, legendary keyboardist Joe Sample died. His talent was extraordinary and his compilations are timeless. The sad part about his death was the legacy that he “didn’t” leave to many young musicians growing up now. Joe Sample was “jazz,” natural and soulful. He didn’t rely on samples, drum machines or DJ’s to play his music. What he recorded he played without the aid of modern day technology. Unfortunately, I never got the chance to work with him or even talk to him, but my brother, Bill Jolly, did. He told me that Joe was a really cool guy (kind of like Bill Withers) who would talk to you like you were his good friend. He was straight up, truthful and to the point and he could probably throw in a little sarcasm along the way as well. Joe founded the Jazz Crusaders (which later on became known as just “The Crusaders”) and if you like to hear quality jazz music with soul to it then you need to Google this group. Unfortunately, the band disbanded in the 90’s and Sample went on to pursue a successful solo career. You would have to be accomplished musicians to be able to play his works and I am proud to say that I have played a lot of his songs. Mr. Sample may be gone, but it is up to us to keep his music alive. A young kind growing up to play piano “needs to hear” the music of Joe Sample, and we need to find a way to keep “jazz music” in the mainstream of popularity. There are not as many jazz stations as there used to be, because it hasn’t been supported like it needs to be. We can change that, and hopefully keep an important art form from becoming extinct. The “next” Joe Sample is out there somewhere, and he needs to be inspired to play. Music is “not” just some loop you find online. A musician needs to be able to create and if you take away his or her inspirations then you are in essence stifling creativity. I will miss Joe Sample, but I will have his music to carry on. You can too. Keep jazz alive… Thank you and have a great day.
Singer Anthony Hamilton and Brett Jolly in concert