When it comes to singer Randy Crawford, Crusaders keyboardist Joe Sample has as single-minded vision.
“I was given a blessing to recognize and understand how she wants to deliver a song,” Sample, 68 explains. “When I am supporting her, that’s all I have on my mind. Why? ’Cause I am getting turned on. She’s turning me on.
“It’s as exciting for me as it is for an audience — and even for Randy — to sit there and be part of her getting excited.”
Sample and Crawford’s association dates back 30 years, to when he sat in on her debut album, “Everything Must Change.” That led to her work with the Crusaders — including the 1979 hit “Street Life” — and to Sample continuing to work with Crawford on her albums.
This year they’ve released “Feeling Good,” a stripped-down set recorded with the legendary producer Tommy LiPuma and an allstar rhythm section of drummer Steve Gadd and bassist Christian McBride. Sample says they’re already planning their next recording, too, which he hopes to start working on in the summer.
“I think Randy Crawford is one of the greatest blues singers of all time, so we will be leaning over to the bluer side of life,” says Sample, who’s also beginning to put together another Crusaders project. “It will not be the kind of blues B.B. King does; it will be more of a classical blues, blues with melodies. Ray Charles did a lot of those, and Percy Mayfield and Charles Brown.
“I like to describe it as the silky, smoky bluesy sound, and I know she’ll sound great doing it.”
Joe Sample and Randy Crawford perform at 8 p.m. Friday (May 4th) at the Music Hall Center, 350 Madison Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $39.50-$62. Call (313) 887-8501 or visit www.musichall.org.
Send your thoughts and comments to