Joe Sample and Randy Crawford return in March

sample and crawfordCertain exceptional musical matches are unquestionably made in Heaven. The day that ubiquitous keyboard journeyman Joe Sample arrived at the studio to lend his distinctive piano touch to singer extraordinaire Randy Crawford's debut album Everything Must Change in 1976, one of the finest pairings in contemporary jazz was born.

sample and crawfordCertain exceptional musical matches are unquestionably made in Heaven. The day that ubiquitous keyboard journeyman Joe Sample arrived at the studio to lend his distinctive piano touch to singer extraordinaire Randy Crawford's debut album Everything Must Change in 1976, one of the finest pairings in contemporary jazz was born.

Off and on through the years, these soul mates have made sweet music together - from the now classic "Street Life" which Randy sang with Joe's group The Crusaders to Randy's own album Now We May Begin, for which Joe was a co-producer. These stellar guest appearances eventually led to the inevitable: a duo project as co-headliners.  March 24, 2009 will see the release of Joe Sample & Randy Crawford's second album of collaborations titled No Regrets. It's the much anticipated follow-up to their first such collection in 2006, Grammy nominated Feeling Good, which peaked at #3 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart and paved the way for a successful string of tours around the world.  No Regrets promises to lean in more of a soulful direction, featuring both remakes of R&B classics such as Aretha Franklin's "Today I Sing The Blues" and The Staple Singers' "Respect Yourself" plus other songs from across the eras done in a jazzy-soul style such as the legendary Edith Piaf chestnut "No Regrets" to contemporary pop singer/songwriter Sarah McLachlan's "Angel." All of the material was handpicked by Joe & Randy with producer Tommy LiPuma who knows them well, having worked with both artists individually and collectively even beyond these 33 years.

Sample states, "Randy and I wanted to keep this recording on more of the rhythm and blues side. And, as always, we wanted to pick songs that nobody else records. The process was very methodical.  I remember a lot of songs from the `40s and `50s, and Tommy - who's about two years older than me - has been looking for songs all his life as a record producer. Randy asked Tommy and me if we would look for the material, so one afternoon I went over to Tommy's and we sifted through hundreds of CDs and albums. When we found something we both liked, the next step was, ‘What can I do to make these arrangements interesting for me? If I can do that, then I can get other people interested.' Then, after carefully considering the lyrics, we'd present them to Randy to see how she felt."

The result is a collection of music that sets and sustains a laidback late night groove - a time and space where the listener can do just that - relax and really listen to Joe & Randy's custom made takes on everything from blues great Bobby Blue Bland's "Lead Me On" to Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee Randy Newman's poignant "Just One Smile," the latter of which significantly impressed Mr. Newman who told his old friend Mr. LiPuma personally. Key to setting this mood is the returning rhythm section of world class veterans Steve Gadd on drums and Christian McBride on bass - ultra sensitive sidemen who provide the music with precisely what it requires and nothing more. "Anyone who knows me understands that I demand attention to dynamics," Sample continues. "Both of these outstanding gentlemen touch their instruments the same way I touch mine - with sensitivity and taste."

This fantastically laid foundation brings out the very best in Miss Randy Crawford for 11 soul-stirring performances. One London Times reviewer marveled at how after 30+ years her voice still retains such "youth and power." Sample proudly describes her succinctly as "an American treasure."

Joe Sample and Randy Crawford's No Regrets is a top shelf sample of masters at play

 

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