Legendary Jazz Pianist and Composer Joe Sample Has Died. Joe Sample, who has worked with everyone from B.B. King, Steely Dan, Joni Mitchell, Marvin Gaye, Anita Baker, and more, holds writing, production, and performance credits on hundreds of releases and was a leader in transitioning music from bop to soulful jazz. Since forming The Crusaders (bebop band. By the 1970s the group dropped the “Jazz” and became an enormously successful crossover act, the Crusaders, who played a form of jazz laced with funk and soul.), Sample went on to record 21 solo albums over the last 50 years.