No Regrets (PRA Records)
Randy Crawford & Joe Sample
Released October 10, 2008
Grammy Nominee for Best Jazz Vocal Album 2010
For more than four decades, legendary pianist and composer Joe Sample has been an integral and innovative part of jazz history.
A founding member of The Crusaders, Sample first collaborated with Randy Crawford on the transatlantic hit Street Life in 1979.Whilst actively touring as a member of The Crusaders, Joe Sample simultaneously launched a successful solo career, and has toured and performed with numerous musical greats including Marvin Gaye, Tina Turner, BB King, Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, and Anita Baker. Randy Crawford made her name in the mid seventies in New York, where she sang alongside the likes of George Benson and Cannonball Adderly. Other major hits include One Day I’ll Fly Away, You Might Need Somebody, and Rainy Night In Georgia, which all became soul standards.
Randy and Joe join forces once again for their new album No Regrets.
1. Every Day I Have the Blues (Peter Chatman) 5:05
2. Today I Sing the Blues (Curtis Lewis) 3:33
3. Respect Yourself (Luther Ingram / Sir Mack Rice) 5:44
4. Angel (Sarah McLachlan) 4:08
5. Me, Myself and I (Irving Gordon / Alvin Kaufman / Allan Roberts) 2:13
6. Just One Smile (Randy Newman) 4:21
7. Don’t Put All Your Dreams in One Basket (Betty Hall / Dorinda Morgan) 3:07
8. This Bitter Earth (Clyde Otis) 3:58
9. Starting All Over Again (Leroy Mitchell) 4:18
10. No Regrets (Charles Dumont / Michel Vaucaire) 3:01
11. Lead Me On (Don Robey) 4:14
Randy Crawford: vocals
Joe Sample: piano
Steve Gadd: drums
Christian McBride: bass
Anthony Wilson: guitar
Ray Parker, Jr.: guitar
Gary Grant: trumpet
Dan Higgins: tenor saxophone
Recorded at Avatar Studios, New York, NY and Schnee Studio, LA
Producer: Tommy LiPuma
Randy Crawford and Joe Sample go back a long way; Crawford was featured on the Crusaders’ 1979 hit “Street Life,” a gem that held up pleasingly well 30 years later. And even though Crawford has generally been more of an R&B singer than a jazz singer, she is certainly quite capable of singing jazz — which is what she does to a large degree on No Regret, a session Crawford co-leads with pianist Sample.
It would be inaccurate to say that this 2009 release, which Sample produced with Tommy LiPuma, is the work of jazz purists. The musical recipe is jazz meets soul meets the blues — in other words, soul-jazz — and Crawford and Sample (who are joined by bassist Christian McBride and drummer Steve Gadd) enjoy a strong rapport on material that ranges from Memphis Slim’s “Every Day I Have the Blues” and Clyde Otis’ “This Bitter Earth” to the Staple Singers’ “Respect Yourself” and Mel & Tim’s “Starting All Over Again.”
There are some interesting surprises on No Regret; Crawford and Sample also tackle Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel” with memorable results, and they even find the soul-jazz possibilities in Charles Dumont’s Edith Piaf-associated “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien.” That French classic, which was a major hit for Piaf in 1960, has a lot of history attached to it; it is considered Piaf’s anthem (much like “My Way” was for Frank Sinatra), it has been adopted as an anthem by the French Foreign Legion — and of course, it’s a great song to crank when you want to give the middle finger to all the racist, wacky neo-cons who have an obsessive and downright irrational hatred of France (evidently, neo-cons forget where the Statue of Liberty came from).
But Crawford doesn’t try to emulate Piaf; she embraces an English-language version, and a song that came out of French pop works surprisingly well in a soul-jazz setting. No Regret is a consistently rewarding follow-up to Crawford and Sample’s previous collaboration Feeling Good.
Alex Henderson (AllMusic)