Houston jazz artist Joe Sample has passed away at the age of 75. 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.

Sample’s family confirmed the news on his Facebook page last night: "Joe Sample passed. His wife Yolanda and his son Nicklas would like to thank all of you, his fans and friends, for your prayers and support during this trying time. Please know that Joe was aware and very appreciative of all of your prayers, comments, letters/cards and well wishes.”

Since forming The Crusaders (fka The Jazz Crusaders), Sample went on to record 21 solo albums over the last 50 years. His work has been sampled dozens of times, most notably on 2Pac's "Dear Mama," among others.

[via The Jazzline]