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
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.
© Michael Valentine Studio Ltd.