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Album Review

A luscious outing from piano great Joe Sample, this disc includes beautiful interpretations of ten standards and near standards. Featuring plush orchestral arrangements by Dale Oehler wrapped over and around Sample's piano trio, Invitation is simply one of the loveliest recordings of Sample's career. With a rhythm section made up of bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Victor Lewis, augmented by Lenny Castro on percussion, the music is of a piece from start to finish. Producer Tommy Lipuma has found a wonderful setting for Sample to show his gorgeous, acoustic piano stylings, and the orchestra feels like part of the trio instead of an add-on. When Sample uses synths, they are indistinguishable from the orchestra. Overall, a smooth, romantic, highly recommended recording.


Born: 01 February 1939 in Houston, TX

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

One of the many jazzmen who started out playing hard bop but went electric during the fusion era, Joe Sample was, in the late '50s, a founding member of the Jazz Crusaders along with trombonist Wayne Henderson, tenor saxman Wilton Felder, and drummer Stix Hooper. The Crusaders' debt to Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers wasn't hard to miss -- except that the L.A.-based unit had no trumpeter, and became known for its unique tenor/trombone front line. Sample, a hard-swinging player who could handle chordal...
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Invitation, Joe Sample
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