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The Traditional Delta and Country Blues

Sammy Price

Samuel Blythe Price, b. October 6, 1908 in Honey Grove, TX, d. April 14, 1992 in New York, NY, jazz, boogie-woogie and jump blues pianist and bandleader.

Price was born in Honey Grove, Texas, United States. During his early career, he was a singer and dancer in local venues in the Dallas area. Price lived and played jazz in Kansas City, Chicago and Detroit. In 1938 he was hired by Decca Records as a session sideman on piano, assisting singers such as Trixie Smith and Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Price was most noteworthy for his work on Decca Records with his own band, known as the Texas Bluesicians, that included fellow musicians Don Stovall and Emmett Berry. Price also had a decade-long partnership with Henry "Red" Allen. Later in his life, Price partnered with the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City, and was the headline entertainment at the Crawdaddy Restaurant, a New Orleans themed restaurant in New York in the mid-1970s. Both Benny Goodman and Buddy Rich played with Price at this venue. in the 1980s he switched to playing in the bar of Boston's Copley Plaza. He died of a heart attack in April 1992, at home in Harlem, in New York City, at the age of 83.

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by Scott Yanow
Sammy Price had a long and productive career as a flexible blues and boogie-woogie-based pianist. He studied piano in Dallas and was a singer and dancer with Alphonso Trent's band during 1927-1930. In 1929, he recorded one solitary side under the title of "Sammy Price and His Four Quarters." After a few years in Kansas City, he spent time in Chicago and Detroit. In 1938, Price became the house pianist for Decca in New York and appeared on many blues sides with such singers as Trixie Smith and Sister Rosetta Tharpe. He led his own band on records in the early '40s which included (on one memorable session) Lester Young. Price worked steadily on 52nd Street, in 1948 played at the Nice Festival with Mezz Mezzrow, spent time back in Texas, and then a decade with Red Allen; he was also heard on many rock & roll-type sessions in the 1950s. In later years he recorded with Doc Cheatham. Sammy Price was active until near his death, 63 years after his recording debut.