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Joe Sample Gets Rootsy on Next CD

Contemporary jazz crusader Joe Sample (pictured) will release his first solo piano album, Soul Shadows on October 14 via Verve/PRA. Not the smooth effort Sample fans might expect, Shadows is a 12-song set of traditional jazz tunes played solely on acoustic piano. Songs on the new album include Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer,” “Ellington’s “I Got it Bad and That Ain’t Good” and “Jelly Roll Morton’s “Shreveport Stomp.”

Fort Sample, the album is a long-overdue payment on the musical debt he feels he owes James Reese Europe, leader of the World War I-era 269th Regimental Band.

“My father was in the first world war, and when I was young he would tell me stories about the 369th Regimental Band, it’s leader James Reese Europe, and he would sing ‘How You Gonna Keep Them Down on the Farm,’ one of Europe’s signature songs, and a big hit of it’s time,” Sample said. “Today every time I hear that song it rattles my insides. As a young musician I wondered, where did our music come from? I’ve become a bit of a historian of jazz and all African American music, and recently discovered a biography of James Reese Europe. Reading that biography has given me a clearer understanding of why he has been so important not only to me, but to all of us.”

“How You Gonna Keep Them Down on the Farm” appears on Soul Shadows as the lead track. Despite all the homage-paying, Sample managed to make room for a couple of his own tunes on the album, “Spellbound” and the title track.

How You Gonna Keep Them Down on the Farm

Ain’t Misbehavin’


Soul Shadows

I Got Rhythm

I Got it Bad and That Ain’t Good


It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie

The Entertainer

Shreveport Stomp

Embraceable You

Jitterbug Waltz

Originally Published