Joe Sample

Jazzy Joe at the Blue Note


One of the perks of being a homeschooling family is the ability to enjoy a late night out without the worry of an early morning alarm ringing out. We took advantage of that the other night.

For the first time in several years, we went to the Blue Note. In case you’re unfamiliar with the place, the Blue Note is a historical New York jazz club. Many of the greats have performed there, and the other night was no different.

We saw Joe Sample and the Crusaders. What a fantastic performance. Everyone was bopping in their seat – the music was that engaging. And so was Mr. Sample. Funny man.

Now you have to picture the venue – intimate (read that – small) and dark. Low ceiling, painted black. Fabric walls with V’d mirror strips. Tiny cobalt votives on each table, and family style seating. The only thing missing from this jazz club that I associate with jazz clubs was the smoky atmosphere. Though I’m not complaining. The family-style seating can be a little rough because the seats and tables are so close together that you become oddly familiar with strangers rather quickly. :-/

It’s okay though, because everyone is there for the music, and the stage is within stretching distance.

Joe started talking about music ‘in the day’ and how he’d hit the scene at an early age. I believe he said he was only 22 when he made his first recording – in 1961. Soon after that, he was a well-known entity and the ladies all but threw themselves at his feet. He started talking about the ladies, how much he enjoyed them and the attention they bestowed on him. The mention of it seemed to sidetrack him. He became quiet and had this wistful expression on his face. Dreamy, like he’d let his mind travel back in time. It was an odd moment, because everyone was so into what he was saying, that they also had dreamy, wistful expressions on their faces. I’m sure I did, too. It was as if he’d taken us all back in time. I felt it. I felt free and light as if at that time, everything was bliss. I suppose that’s what happens when the mind sifts reality into memories.

After lulling us into the moment with him, he drew in a quick breath, shook off some apparently exciting memories and said, in this husky soulful tone, “Ah, if only I was young again…”

“Calm down, Joe!”

Those words came from someone in the audience. You couldn’t help but laugh. And then this sexy symphony began and once again, the crowd was completely engrossed. He’d drawn us all into a dream with just a few words and kept us there with his music.