If you're not in the music scene, and probably if you're not a keyboard player, you might not recognize the name Joe Sample. He is for me, partly because of this, the ideal of what a keyboard player should be - smart, groovy, solid, one of the best, but understated to the point of being overlooked, doing everything in support of the groove.
I found an old sleeve of CD's once, with one inside, a CD-R that had hand-written upon it "Bill Withers Greatest Hits." So I popped it in and there came first Lovely Day and Just the Two of Us, then Use me Up and then came one that I heardn't heard before. It was Soul Shadows.
Right from the opening groove I was thinking, OK, this is going to be a cool tune, was digging it up through the first chorus and then comes a saxophone solo. And somewhere almost lost in the background I hear these chords on the Rhodes getting laid in there like tombstones, heavy, thick ; they were hitting me so hard I almost had to stop the car not only because they were like nothing I had ever heard before, but also because of how they worked at an emotional level. When I got home, I googled that track to find out who was playing keys, and I came to know the name Joe Sample.
Suggested Listening :
- Soul Shadows - listen for those crazy chords in the solo after the first chorus !
- There's a really good 4-Part interview with him (youtube : joe sample interview, from keyboard instrument chops and gear)