One of the many jazzmen who started out playing hard bop but went electric during the fusion era, Joe Sample was, in the late '50s, a founding member of the Jazz Crusaders along with trombonist Wayne Henderson, tenor saxman Wilton Felder, and drummer Stix Hooper. The Crusaders' debt to Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers wasn't hard to miss – except that the L.A.-based unit had no trumpeter, and became known for its unique tenor/trombone front line. Sample, a hard-swinging player who could handle chordal and modal/scalar improvisation equally well, stuck to the acoustic piano during the Crusaders' early years – but would place greater emphasis on electric keyboards when the band turned to jazz-funk in the early '70s and dropped "Jazz" from its name.
A spinoff of its parent magazine, Classic Rock Presents Prog takes a look at progressive music and the artists who weave them together. Each issue takes a soul-searching foray into the hearts and minds of the heroes of rock, reviewing both new and old releases. Building upon the history of some of the most genre-defining pieces ever devised and those who followed who continue to refine, revolutionise and completely discard the formulas of those who came before. Reflecting on the proud genesis of this unexpected genre, Classic Rock Presents Prog is an able tutor for those in the dark about the evolution of progressive music, and a tonic for existing fans.