Texan Sammy was a versatile pianist whose long career encompassed Blues and boogie-woogie and took in swing and jump-blues. Starting in Dallas as a singer and dancer in Alphonso Trent’s Orchestra, Sammy recorded his song ‘Blue Rhythm Stomp’ in 1929. He formed the Texas Bluesicians based in Kansas, moving the band on to Detroit and eventually to Chicago. Sammy spent some time playing boogie-woogie around New York’s 52nd street at the end of the 30s, and as a house pianist for the Decca label, he backed many stars like Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Trixie Smith. Sammy was equally at home playing the Blues in a trio or leading a bigger band playing the jump-blues people loved to dance to, and he also had a long residency at the upscale Roosevelt Hotel in New York.
During the 50s, Sammy played for many years with trumpeter ‘Red’ Allen, and towards the end of the decade he took his music to Europe where he was a big hit. He recorded many times for the French Black and Blue label, sometimes in rollicking barrelhouse style and sometimes in front of a full horn section. His ‘Paradise Valley Duets’ album was cut when Sammy was almost 80, and he pounded the 88s right to the end, with a long residency at the Plaza in Boston.