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Joe Sample
Randy Crawford & Joe Sample
Randy Crawford

Randy Crawford & Joe Sample
@ the Hammersmith Apollo
8 December 2008
Photographs of Joe Sample 24 February 1996 & 8 December 2008

Click an image to enlarge.

Randy Crawford biography

Born Veronica Crawford, February 2. 1952 in Macon, Georgia, Randy Crawford began her career performing in clubs from Cincinnati to St. Tropez. She made her name in New York performing alongside George Benson and Cannonball Adderly. She led r&b veterans, The Crusaders, on their classic hit “Street Life” in 1979.

Soul standards include “Rainy Day in Georgia” in 1981.Her album “Secret Combination” stayed on the album charts for over 60 weeks in 1981 and Randy returned to the charts in 1986, with the top 10 single “Almaz”.

Crawford known for her amazing re-makes has recorded such classics as “Purple Rain”, “Holding Back the Years”, “Captain of Her Heart”, “Wishing on a Star”, “All I Do”, “Foolish Heart”, “Knockin on Heaven’s Door”, “Give Me the Night” and many more.

Joe Sample biography

“As a young musician I wondered, where did our music come from?” says Sample.

“I've become a bit of a historian of jazz and all African American music, and recently discovered a biography of James Reese Europe. Reading that biography has given me a clearer understanding of why he has been so important not only to me, but to all of us.”

Learning to play piano at age five, the Houston native’s formative years found him firmly rooted in many different musical traditions, including gospel, soul, bebop, blues, Latin, and classical music. One of the many jazzmen who started out playing hard bop but went electric during the fusion era, (soon after attending Texas Southern University for three years,) Sample founded the Jazz Crusaders along with trombonist Wayne Henderson, tenor saxman Wilton Felder and drummer Stix Hooper. Relocating to and launching their storied career in Los Angeles, The Crusaders patterned themselves after Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, only without a trumpet and becoming renowned for their unique tenor/trombone front line.

Sample focused on the acoustic piano during the Crusaders’ early years (late 50s-early 60s), but began to place greater emphasis on electric keyboards when the band turned to jazz/funk in the early 70s and dropped the “Jazz” from its name. After garnering numerous gold and platinum albums over the course of nearly three decades, The Crusaders’ last official recording was “Life in the Modern World” in 1987. Sample and Felder released the dual album “Healing the Wounds” on GRP in the early 90s, and in 2003 rejoined Hooper for a more full-scale reunion that produced the Southern styled hit jazz fusion recording “Rural Renewal” - billed as the first new album by The Crusaders in over 20 years-and a popular subsequent tour.

While actively touring as a member of the Crusaders, Sample simultaneously launched a successful solo career. His best selling recordings include “Rainbow Seeker”, “Carmel”, “Voices in the Rain”, “Spellbound”, “Ashes to Ashes” and many more. In addition to his own recordings, Sample has toured and performed with numerous musical greats in all genres, including Marvin Gaye, Tina Turner, BB King, Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, Randy Crawford (who sang on the 1979 Crusaders smash “Street Life”), Anita Baker, Andrae Crouch and many others.

For more than four decades, pianist and composer Joe Sample has been an integral, innovative and best-selling part of jazz history. Sample is a humble approachable individual who has gained the love and respect of artists’ and music aficionados alike.

My respect for Joe Sample is immense, not only as a musician, but also as a human being - Sounds a little corny, but Joe was extremely kind to me when I met him at the Jazz Café in 1996 (when my camera failed to work after sneaking into his gig). His kindness led directly into me exploring musician photography and the birth of this website. Ironically, at that time Joe mentioned that Nick (his son) was interested in playing bass, but Joe admitted, “I’m not sure if Nick has what it takes to really make it!” Listening to Nick and studying the reassuring body language between father and son at the Hammersmith Apollo over a decade after his initial doubts, it is refreshing to see that those doubts appear to have waned.

Robin Francis
© Michael Valentine Studio Ltd.

Joe Sample

Randy Crawford

Nick Sample

Steve Gadd

Joe Sample



Joe Sample & NDR  Bigband - Children Of The Sun Randy Crawford & Joe Sample -  No Regrets Randy Crawford - The Ultimate Collection
Randy Crawford & Joe Sample - Feleling Good The Pecan Tree Old Places Old Faces The Song Lives On
Spellbound Joe Sample / Ray Brown / Shelly Mane - The Three Invitation Ashes To Ashes
The Hunter Oasis Voices In The Rain Carmel



  Click the images below to see more artist photographs and read reviews...

Randy Crawford & Joe SampleTrio Under The Bridge,Fulham  (Click to go to this page) Monty Alexander - Live at the Iridium (Click to go to his page) Abdullah Ibrahim - African Magic (Click to go to his page) Nils Landgren & Joe Sample - Creole Love Call (Click to go to Landgren's page)

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