Remember road trips with your parents? In my family, we battled to control the radio. If the trip was longer than 10 miles, my parents won. Dad inevitably popped in a cassette. Often he played contemporary jazz. I heard the Crusader’s “Street Life” so many times, I dreamed living the type of life Randy Crawford sang about.
On Friday, Crusaders founding member Joe Sample performed at CPCC’s Pease Auditorium. He performed hits from the Crusaders as well as solo tunes. The show, hosted by Jazz Diva Entertainment, gave me a chance to relive family trips from Columbia, MD to D.C. and the really, really long drives to Alabama.
Sample performed two sets Friday night and both were packed. Sample reminded me of a lovable grandfather. He’d start telling a story about the nuns who used to spank him in grade school or about how fly he looked in the ’60s or about the stress of the record industry consolidation in the ’80s. Then Sample would ask why he started telling the story.
He blamed his lapses on medication. We all laughed. We didn’t care. Sitting in the audience, we reveled in the stories and of course the music. Sample performed “Stormy Weather,” and said it inspired him to play piano. He said “The Freedom Sound” was his group’s contribution to the Civil Rights Movement.
“I knew I was not going to Selma and march, but I knew I wanted to inspire them,” he said.
One of Sample’s best stories was about “In All My Wildest Dreams,” which Tupac sampled for “Dear Mama.”
“Tupac made millions,” he quipped. “I did make something.”
He made songs that became the soundtrack for our family trips.