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Joe Sample/Lalah Hathaway: The Song Lives On

An uncommonly reflective and touching love note of an album, The Song Lives On (GRP GRP3P-90138; 56:42) pairs legendary pianist Joe Sample with a perfect vocal counterpart in Lalah Hathaway (whose duet contributions earn a “featured” credit here). Sample is at his wandering, light-touch best on the musing instrumental “Living in Blue” and the jumping, brightly dancing “Bitter Sweet,” but the vocal selections highlight his emotive play even further. Hathaway’s smoky-toned alto proves the perfect counterpoint for Sample on an atmospheric, offbeat take on “Fever,” and a bittersweet complement to his restless, high-range piano runs on “One Day I’ll Fly Away.” A funky arrangement of “Street Life” (the Sample/Will Jennings chestnut) gives Hathaway room to work with a husky growl, and a minimalist arrangement of “For All We Know” gives her a spotlight-offering the right mix of rapture and regret, augmented by Sample’s sensitive play.

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