Joseph Leslie Sample, 1 February 1939, Houston, Texas, USA. While still at high school, Sample co-founded a group that would dominate his working life. Known from 1960 as the Jazz Crusaders, the band, with its core of Sample on piano, Wayne Henderson, Wilton Felder and Nesbert Stix Hooper, produced a series of popular albums that helped to define the term soul jazz. A change of name, to the Crusaders, led to a change of direction in 1972, with increasing emphasis on a soul and funk repertoire. Sample stayed with the group throughout the 70s and, in a number of re-formations, into the 80s, but throughout these periods, Sample and the other group members have maintained independent careers. Sample worked as an accompanist with the Bobby Hutcherson / Harold Land quintet in 1967 and during the late 60s became a regular Motown session musician, working with artists such as Diana Ross and the Jackson Five.
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