392

Joe Sample: Rainbow Seeker

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count


If you don't know what "pocket" is, listen to most any Joe Sample release, but especially Rainbow Seeker (1978, MCA). You'd think the term was invented for this collection of groove jazz. Of course when released, I'm sure it wasn't considered ground-breaking, but it is an incredible example of how compositions and solos can be built around the pocket. Unfortunately, my copy of the disc doesn't tell me who's playing on the tracks, so I gleaned the album personnel info from an online source:

Garnett Brown (trombone), Bobby Bryant (trumpet), Paulinho DaCosta (percussion), Jay DaVersa (trumpet), Barry Finerty (guitar), William Green (flute), Mario Henderson (guitar), Stix Hooper (drums, percussion), Fred Jackson (saxophone), Freddy Johnson (saxophone), Steve Madaio (trumpet), Ray Parker (guitar), Dean Parks (guitar), Robert Popwell (bass), Billy Rogers (bass, guitar), Sid Sharp (strings), David Walker (guitar), Ernie Watts (saxophone).

The ensemble, on each track, is tight! Joe is playing a bit more here than he has on recent releases, but his fluid, swinging soloing technique is in evidence. I'd instantly recognize the soloing as Sample's. Sticking with electric and acoustic pianos, he works his magic on a variety of tempos and grooves contrasted by the latin-tinged "Islands in the Rain", and the balladry of "Melodies of Love", "Together We'll find A Way". There's some tasteful and stylish archtop guitar in there, overall the classic 70's effected sounds are all there, and it grooves, grooves, grooves from top to bottom. It's not amazing that you can here Sample's influence on much of today's contemporary (NAC and the like) jazz styles. What does amaze me is that few players actually credit Sample for inspiration. If you're listening Joe, I'd love to get a chance for a lesson or two on how to Sample.

A fan? Sure I am—of all of the players mentioned here. Much of my own technique and compositions are influence by Sample's, Grolnick's, and Scofield's. These are players who have been around 20-30 years making albums and moving their music and the genre forward. While there are few musical icons like Miles, there are plenty of examples of players who have gone somewhere with their music. Though I was disappointed when Scofield did his quartet albums in the late 80's (I had been a funk fan), he has gone on and continues to establish new options. Joe Sample will always sound like Joe Sample to me, but his recent acoustic trio stuff is exceptional. I saw him live with the trio and he held the audience in awe even after following the much larger band of Boney James. What does that tell us? And, of course, Sanborn. I've had a love/hate relationship with his music, but it is undeniable and unrestrainable, and enduring. No one else is Sanborn in the same way no one else can ever be Miles.

| Record Label: MCA | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Streams" CD/LP/Track Review Streams
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 17, 2016
Read "Innri" CD/LP/Track Review Innri
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 4, 2016
Read "Ghosts Appearing Through The Sound" CD/LP/Track Review Ghosts Appearing Through The Sound
by Tyran Grillo
Published: April 27, 2016
Read "City Of Poets" CD/LP/Track Review City Of Poets
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 3, 2016
Read "Poetry For The Beat Generation" CD/LP/Track Review Poetry For The Beat Generation
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: December 11, 2016
Read "A Moment In Time" CD/LP/Track Review A Moment In Time
by James Nadal
Published: July 21, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!