Edgar Sampson

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Edgar Sampson
Birth name Edgar Melvin Sampson
Born (1907-10-31)October 31, 1907
New York City, New York, United States
Died January 16, 1973(1973-01-16) (aged 65)
Englewood, New Jersey, United States
Occupation(s) Composer, arranger, instrumentalist
Instruments Saxophone, violin
Years active 1924–1960s
Associated acts Joe Colman, Charlie "Fess" Johnson, Duke Ellington, Rex Stewart, Fletcher Henderson

Edgar Melvin Sampson (October 31, 1907, New York City, New York – January 16, 1973, Englewood, New Jersey) was a composer, arranger, saxophonist, and violinist. Born in New York City, he started playing violin at age six and picked up the saxophone in high school. He was nicknamed "The Lamb."[1]

Born Edgar Melvin Sampson in 1907, Sampson started his professional career in 1924 with a violin piano duo with Joe Colman. Through the rest of the twenties and early thirties he played with many bands including those of Charlie "Fess" Johnson, Duke Ellington, Rex Stewart and Fletcher Henderson.[2] In 1933 he joined the Chick Webb band. It is while with Webb that Sampson created his most enduring work as a composer, writing "Stompin' at the Savoy" and "Don't Be That Way". He left the Webb band in 1936 with a reputation as a composer and arranger that led to freelance work with Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Red Norvo, Teddy Hill, Teddy Wilson and Chick Webb. He continued to play sax through the late forties and started his own band (1949-1951). In the late forties through the fifties he worked with Latin performers such as Marceino Guerra, Tito Rodriguez and Tito Puente as an arranger. He recorded one album under his own name, Swing Softly Sweet Sampson in 1956. Due to illness, he stopped working in the late sixties.

Edgar Sampson became a student of the Schillinger System in the early 1940s.[3]

Compositions and arrangements[edit]

  • "Dark Rapture" (Edgar Sampson, Benny Goodman, Manny Kurtz)
  • "If Dreams Come True" (Edgar Sampson, Benny Goodman, Irving Mills)
  • "Lullaby in Rhythm" (Edgar Sampson, Benny Goodman, Clarence Profit, Walter Hirsch)
  • "Mambo Inn" (Mario Bauzá, Edgar Sampson, Bobby Woodlen)
  • "Stompin' at the Savoy" (Edgar Sampson, Benny Goodman, Chick Webb, Andy Razaf)
  • "Hoopdee Whodee (Edgar Sampson)
  • "I'll Be Back for More" (Edgar Sampson, Candido Camero, Sammy Gallop)
  • "Happy and Satisfied" (Edgar Sampson, Walter Bishop)
  • "Cool and Groovy" (Edgar Sampson)
  • "Blue Lou" (Edgar Sampson, Irving Mills)
  • "The Blues Made Me Feel This Way" (Edgar Sampson)
  • "Light and Sweet" (Edgar Sampson, Bill Hardy)
  • "The Sweetness of You" (Edgar Sampson)
  • "Don't Be That Way" (Edgar Sampson, Benny Goodman, Mitchell Parish)

(Source: Liner notes from "Swing Softly Sweet Sampson" Coral Record CRL 57049 (1957)


  1. ^ Frank Driggs. "Sampson, Edgar". In Macy, Laura. Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press.  (subscription required)
  2. ^ Spellman, A.B. (1985). Four Lives in the Bebop Business (1st Limelight ed.). New York: Limelight Editions. p. 164. ISBN 978-0-87910-042-1. 
  3. ^ Curtis, Constance; Herndon, Cholie (30 April 1949). "Know your Boroughs Orchestra Men Talk About Show Business". The New York Amsterdam News. p. 15.