Samuel M. "Sammy" Lowe

Born: 5/14/1918  Birmingham, AL

Died: 2/17/1993

While at Industrial College, Nashville, led Tennessee State Collegians. Moved to New York in 1936 to join the Bama State Collegians directed by Erskine Hawkins. Worked with various leaders including: Eddie Haywood, Cab Calloway, Earle Warren, Don Redman, Illinois Jaquet, Reuben Philllips, etc., Was musical director for several rock-and-roll bands. Prolific arranger, also A&R man for Platinum Records (1971).

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame



Instrument: Trumpet



Samuel “Sammy” Lowe

Sammy Lowe had his heart set on playing professional baseball but music became his favorite past time and his ticket to the music major league.

One of Birmingham, Alabama's most prolific arrangers, Sammy was the chief arranger and composer for the Erskine Hawkins Orchestra for nearly 22 years. His list of monster hits with the band include, “Bearmash Blues,” “Nona,” “No Soap,” “Midnight Stroll,” “Bicycle Bounce” and “Raid the Joint.”

His arrangement of “I've Got a Right to Cry” for Birmingham vocalist Laura Washington soared on the national charts in 1946. Sammy's big band swing days included gigs with bandleaders Cab Calloway, Lucky Millinder, Sammy Davis, Jr., Sy Oliver and Don Redman. His rock-n-roll days were spent arranging for The Platters (”My Prayer”), Al Hirt, Sam Cooke, The Isley Brothers, The Tokens, the Godfather of Soul, James Brown and many others.

Al Hirt called Sammy the “best arranger in the business.” Sammy arranged James Brown's 1966 million seller record single, “It's A Man's, Man's, Man's World.” His other million-seller single recordings include The Tokens' “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” Sylvia's “Pillow Talk,” Roy Hamilton's “You Can Have Her” and the Moment's “Sexy Mama.”




Below is an example of Sammy Lowe's conducting and arranging on Verve Records, as follows:

Pat Thomas with Sammy Lowe Orchestra

Taft Jordan, Joe Wilder, Snooky Young (trumpets) / Johnny Hodges (alto sax) / Hank Jones (piano) / Everett Barksdale (guitar) / Lloyd Trotman (bass) / Panama Francis (drums) / Pat Thomas (vocal) / Sammy Lowe (arranger, conductor) / unidentified strings

NYC, August 14, 1962

62VK585 Try a Little Tenderness Verve unissued

62VK586 All About Ronnie -

62VK587 Love on a Rainbow -



Sammy Lowe was one of the Charter members of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in 1978.

Source: Sammy Lowe at All About Jazz


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