February release on PRA Records marks reunion of vocalist and pianist more than 30 years after “Street Life” - CD launched worldwide “literally” with December NASA mission
On Tuesday, February 20, 2007 PRA Records will release Feeling Good, a new album from Randy Crawford and Joe Sample. This Tommy LiPuma-produced CD marks a return collaboration between vocalist Crawford and pianist Sample who first worked together more than 30 years ago.
To celebrate this special reunion, the album’s upbeat title track and lead single received a literal around-the-world launch in December of 2006, as the song accompanied NASA astronauts on the Space Shuttle STS 116. Astronaut Joan Higginbotham took the song “Feeling Good” with her on the shuttle, which launched from Kennedy Space Center, and the song was selected by NASA as one of the official songs used by Mission Control to wake the astronauts for their daily chores during the 12-day mission.
From the first downbeat of “Feeling Good” through the last note of “Mr. Ugly”, the listener is drawn into the warm embrace of Joe and Randy’s musical heritage, a mixture of soul, jazz, gospel, pop, and a touch of the blues. One of the premier songstresses in contemporary music, Crawford showcases her versatile vocal instrument on songs such as “All Night Long”, “End of the Line”, and the moving ballad “Save Your Love for Me”.
The lasting mastery of Sample’s piano playing skill is evident through each of the album’s 13 songs. From their interpretation of Peter Gabriel’s “Lovetown” to the Latin-flavored “Rio de Janiero Blue”, to a modernly funky but also softened reading of “See Line Woman”, Sample’s work on the keys surrounds, highlights, and compliments Crawford’s voice exquisitely. Some of the other covers chosen for this album include a seductive take on Billie Holiday’s “Tell Me More and More and Then Some”, a breezy run through “Everybody’s Talking”, the tune made famous by Harry Nilsson and the film Midnight Cowboy, and a heartfelt version of “When I Need You”, written by Albert Hammond and Carol Bayer Sager. A special sentimental choice is “Last Night at Danceland”, a song written by Sample and originally recorded by Crawford in 1980.
The keen interaction between Sample and Crawford throughout the album is a clear testimony to a musical friendship that began three decades ago, when Joe played on Randy’s debut CD, Everything Must Change. Soon after, when writing songs for his influential band The Crusaders, Sample invited Crawford to be a guest on their record and wrote the song “Street Life” especially for her. Of course, that tune went on to become an international hit, and the two collaborated on and off for years afterwards. With both artists having worked previously with GRAMMY®-winning producer Tommy LiPuma, the three coming together to record Feeling Good was a natural fit. Also the joining the team was multiple GRAMMY®-winning engineer Al Schmitt, whose inimitable touch gives the album its flawless, crystal clear sound, along with Steve Gadd on drums and Christian McBride on bass.