Jazz great Joe Sample. Photo courtesy of  Tom Beetz/Wikimedia Commons
Jazz great Joe Sample. Photo courtesy of Tom Beetz/Wikimedia Commons

Joe Sample, an iconic jazz and keyboard artists and composer whose music transcended genres and defied easy labels, has died at age 75, his family reported Saturday.

Sample split his time between residences in Santa Monica, Mammoth Lakes and his native Houston. His death was first reported on his Twitter feed, and then confirmed by family members.

He was a founder of two seminal Los Angeles jazz bands, the Modern Jazz Sextet and the Jazz Crusaders. In the late 1970s, the Jazz Crusaders transitioned into a blend of funk, soul and jazz, renamed itself the Crusaders and became a mainstay on smooth jazz stations like KTWV in Los Angeles and KIFM in San Diego.

Sample also recorded with B.B. King, Steely Dan and the Supremes.

No services have been announced.

—City News Service

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