For those not familiar with Joe Sample's briiliant and distinctive keyboard style, this collection is a smoother
selection of his most popular compositions. I always prefer
the original albums that these selections were taken from,
and I highly recommend "Old Places, Old Faces" from which
"Black and White" and "Hippies on a Corner" were derived, for
his pared down and tasteful trio sound with bass and drums.
If you like the fully orchestrated strings effect, the
"Invitation" album is a gem, from which his interpretation
of "Summertime" was taken. "Ashes to Ashes", "Road Less
Travelled" are from his "Ashes to Ashes" album, which
is probably more smooth jazz than anything else he has
recorded. Street Life is priceless in its original
recording with the vocals of Randy Crawford, and can
be found on the Crusader's album of the same name,
after all, the group was partially founded by Joe Sample
and is indeed, the Joe Sample sound in its earlier making.
It's hard to please everyone on a collection album, because
the overall effect of the album is weakened in its attempt
to cover all the versatility of style of the artist.
But as a sampling of this keyboard master, I recommend
to those who want an introduction to his world. Don't
stop here, and check out "The Pecan Tree" while you are
at it, as well as "Rural Renewal" which is Joe Sample's
reunion album with the Crusaders. Down home meat and
potatoes bluesy R&B, great grooves!!