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Sam Butera


Sam Butera was a saxophone player, best noted for his collaborations with Louis Prima and Keely Smith. Butera is frequently regarded as a crossover artist who performed with equal ease in both R & B and the post-big band pop style of jazz that permeated the early Vegas nightclub scene. Butera was born and raised in New Orleans, where his father, Joe, ran a butcher shop and played guitar in his spare time. He heard the saxophone for the first time at a wedding when he was seven years old, and, with his father's encouragement, he began to play. Butera's professional career blossomed early, beginning with a stint in big band drummer Ray McKinley's orchestra directly after high school


Article: Album Review

Professor Aucoin & the Jazz Scientists: Mystified

Read "Mystified" reviewed by Jack Bowers

There is a heap of soul, blues, rock, funk and heart on Professor Tim Aucoin's album, Mystified. On the other hand, the jazz content is in rather short supply. The Jazz Scientists are good at what they do, but what they do is more akin to a nightclub act than a jazz performance, at times reminiscent ...


News: Book / Magazine

Bebop, Swing, and Bella Musica: Jazz and the Italian American Experience

Bebop, Swing, and Bella Musica: Jazz and the Italian American Experience

A book by Bill Dal Cerro and David Anthony Witter. Frank Sinatra, Louis Prima, Louie Bellson, Lennie Tristano, Tony Bennett, Buddy DeFranco, Flip Phillips, and Joe Lovano: These are just some of the hundreds of musicians of Italian descent whose talents have enriched jazz. Bebop, Swing, and Bella Musica is more than just a book about ...


Article: Album Review

Noel Catura: Soulful Situation

Read "Soulful Situation" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello

San Francisco Bay Area saxophonist/flautist Noel Catura's debut, Soulful Situation, is about as smooth and soulful a debut as possible. Unlike some smooth jazz recordings--passionless, contrived, and delivered as easy listening jazz for the masses--Catura and crew withhold little in terms of expression and energy on this collection of eight original compositions. The ...


Article: Interview

Jessica Williams: Musical Truths

Read "Jessica Williams: Musical Truths" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Pianist Jessica Williams begins a free-wheeling and fascinating conversation with a fan by thanking him for the kind words he has spoken about her music. Then she adds: “But you don't always have to say kind words, you know, as long as you always say the truth."It's advice that is very much ...


Article: From Far and Wide

First Lady Knows "Salt Peanuts!"

Read "First Lady Knows "Salt Peanuts!"" reviewed by Fradley Garner

JAZZ FOUND A PLACE in more than the president's BlackBerry when the first lady invited some 150 young music high school students to the White House this summer for an afternoon workshop led by Wynton Marsalis and four other members of the distinguished trumpeter's musical family. The youngsters were instructed in “American History and Jazz," “Syntax ...



Just A Gigolo / I Ain't Got Nobody

Featuring the music of Sam Butera
Duration: 5:47

Sam Butera and The Wildest, live in concert.

News: Obituary

Sam Butera 1950s-'60s Tenor Saxophonist with Louis Prima Dies

Sam Butera 1950s-'60s Tenor Saxophonist with Louis Prima Dies

Tenor sax player Sam Butera joined up with Louis Prima -- a fellow New Orleans native of Italian heritage -- in 1954, and for almost two decades they recorded hit albums for Capitol Records, were nightclub fixtures from Las Vegas to New York and appeared in movies and on television. He was best known for his ...


News: Obituary

Lounge Legend Butera, 81, Dies

Lounge Legend Butera, 81, Dies

Swing saxophonist played with Prima Sam Butera, whose saxophone kept the Strip swingin' for 50 years, died Wednesday in Las Vegas. He was 81. The Louis Prima band, with Butera as his saxophone sidekick, gave Las Vegas a distinctive sound and a freewheeling, all-night image when they made the Sahara lounge “The Wildest Show in Town" ...


News: Obituary

Sam Butera, Former Louis Prima Saxophonist, Dies in Las Vegas at Age 81

Sam Butera, Former Louis Prima Saxophonist, Dies in Las Vegas at Age 81

Sam Butera, the hard-driving, hard-swinging New Orleans saxophonist who was Louis Prima's longtime musical partner, died Wednesday in Las Vegas following a long illness. He was 81. Mr. Butera joined Prima's band in 1954. With singer Keely Smith, they built one of the most popular acts in the golden age of Las Vegas. Mr. Butera cooked ...


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