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Edgar Sampson

Composer, Arranger, Bandleader, Saxophonist, Violinist, Lyricist

(1907 - 1973)

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"Blue Lou" transcription at fred...
On Broadway at ibdb.com
Films at imdb.com
Edgar Sampson was touring with Duke Ellington’s band by the age of eighteen. Between 1928 and 1932 he played violin with Charlie Johnson’s Paradise Ten at Small’s Paradise in Harlem and saxophone with Fletcher Henderson’s band. It was during this period that he perfected his skill as an arranger.

He joined Chick Webb’s band in 1933 and really came into his own as an arranger and composer, collaborating with Webb on the perennial jazz favorite, “Stompin’ at the Savoy” (1936), and writing the tune “Blue Lou” with Irving Mills in 1935, which became one of the band’s features. Much credit is given to Sampson’s arrangements, which contributed to the distinctive sound of the Webb band.

Sampson wrote two other highly popular tunes in 1938: “Don’t Be That Way,” with lyrics by Mitchell Parrish, and “Lullaby in Rhythm,” written with Clarence Profit, Walter Hirsch, and Benny Goodman.

In 1936 Goodman hired Sampson as his arranger, and at the Carnegie Hall concert in 1938 Goodman included two of Sampson’s songs and arrangements, “If Dreams Come True” (1934, with Irving Mills) and “Don’t Be That Way,” in this now legendary performance. Many of Goodman’s hits during the ’30s were arranged by Sampson.

As an in-demand arranger Sampson worked for several other bandleaders, including Count Basie and Tito Puente’s Latin group. As a performer Sampson was featured on saxophone with Billie Holiday, Teddy Wilson, and Bunny Berigan. During WWII he entertained troops, touring with Al Sears’ band. He led his own band from 1949 to 1951.

Sampson’s music remains alive and well today having been featured in three recent Broadway shows: Bubbling Brown Sugar (1976), Black and Blue (1989), and Swing! (1999).

- Sandra Burlingame

Stompin' at the Savoy

Chick Webb & His Orchestra Includes "Blue Minor"

The Play Lionel Hampton, Vol. 2: Stompin' at the Savoy

The New York Allstars

Blue Lou

Wardell Gray

Blue Lou

Louis Hayes

Don't Be That Way: 1935-1940

Jimmy Dorsey

Ella & Louis Again (Dig)

Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong Includes "Don't Be That Way"

Lullaby in Rhythm: A Tribute to June Christy

Stephanie Nakasian

On the Sentimental Side

Billie Holiday Includes "If Dreams Come True"

Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert

Benny Goodman

Swing Softly Sweet Sampson

Edgar Sampson
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