Anybody who played jazz / r&b in a bar band during the ‘70’s played the music of Joe Sample and The Crusaders. While the critics of the day argued about whether their music was really “jazz”, Joe and the rest of the group were steadily going about the business of reshaping the face of contemporary music. Miles Davis is often cited as the key innovator in merging jazz and rock, but several years before his experiments, The Crusaders literally wrote the guide book (or fake book) to combining jazz and r&b, and did so in a way that supported bebop improvisation without killing the groove. The Crusaders’ brand of music immediately became the lingua franca for bands who played in bars and roadhouses all across the country, because it gave musicians a way to stretch out at the same time it gave dancers a reason to get down. Joe, of course, went on about his business, expanding his own musical horizons and making the music happen for hundreds of artists that he has backed up since his arrival in LA.