Wow! I don't think there is a better description for this new recording from Joe Sample. I truly believe that this is the best jazz CD that I have heard in the past year.
If you're a new listener to jazz, Sample is an accomplished composer, keyboardist and co-founder of the Crusaders. The Pecan Tree is his newest and quite possibly finest recording. For the Pecan Tree, Sample has ventured back to his roots, down to the city of his youth Houston, Texas. It was in Houston that Sample first began playing piano at age five.
The Pecan Tree is a CD of themes all of them set in the deep south. The track titles each evoke the geographical atmosphere of Sample's hometown. With titles like "Hot & Humid," "The Texas Two Step," "X Marks the Spot (Marie Laveau)," "Spanish Moss," "El Dorado" and "The Pecan Tree," Sample transports the listener to the area west of the delta, a hot, humid cauldron that has created a musical stew. This stew was consumed heartily by Sample. He soaked up its very essence and fibre and ahs been serving it up to us, the public for over four decades.
The Pecan tree features seven stunning instrumental tracks, but is by no means an instrumental journey. Four superb tracks feature vocals. "With These Hands," an old R&B song is given a wonderful interpretation by ex-Shalamar vocalist Howard Hewett. Hewett also handles the vocals on "In A Heartbeat" a fantastic groove co-written by Sample's son Nicklas. This song has the hooks and feeling that could make it a number 1 pop hit. The remaining two vocal performances feature Lizz Wright, a singer just signed to the Verve label. Ms. Wright (who melodious voice will soon be heard across the land on the radio) provides the vocals on "Fool's Gold" and "No One but Myself to Blame" both of which feature music written by Sample and lyrics written by renowned singer/songwriter Jonathan Brooke.
For a trip to jazz heaven or if you're just trying to bring the local jazz club to your living room, sit back and listen to the smooth grooves of The Pecan Tree.
The Pecan Tree; Hot and Humid; No One But Myself to Blame; X Marks the Spot; Fool's Gold; Spanish Moss; In a Heartbeat; El Dorado; With These Hands; The Texas Two Step; Memories.
Howard Hewett: vocals; Joe Sample: piano; Jay Anderson: bass; Larry Aberman: drums;
Lenny Castro: percussion; Paulinho Da Costa : percussion; James Gadson : drums; Dean Parks: guitar; Liz Wright: vocals.
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!
Get more of a good thing
Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.