Sam Woodyard gained his recognition and popularity behind
the drum throne of the Duke Ellington Orchestra from 1955
Woodyard born on Jan. 7, 1925, hailed from Newark, was
self taught, and by the '40s, he was playing with local bands
. He played R&B in Paul Gayten's band around 1950.By the
early '50s, Woodyard had played with tenor saxophonist
Joe Holiday, trumpeter Roy Eldridge, and pianist Milt
Buckner. His most productive and defining period of course
were the ’55-’66 years with the Duke.
After his time with Ellington, Woodyard played drums for
Ella Fitzgerald, and then moved to Los Angeles, after which
he settled in Paris.
In the 1970s he played less due to health problems, but
recorded with Buddy Rich and toured with French pianist