Marty Sammon

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Marty Sammon
Background information
Birth nameMartin J. Sammon
Also known asSlammin Sammon, Chicago's 190 proof keyboardist
Born(1977-10-14)October 14, 1977
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
DiedOctober 15, 2022(2022-10-15) (aged 45)
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
GenresChicago blues, electric blues, ragtime, New Orleans jazz
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter, author
Instrument(s)Piano, vocals, guitar
Years active1993–2022

Martin J. Sammon (October 14, 1977 – October 15, 2022) was an American blues keyboardist. He was recognized for his energetic performances, improvisation and mastery of traditional styles (ragtime and blues). Sammon has established himself as an ambassador of Chicago blues appearing on several commercially distributed DVDs, television shows (US and in Europe) and Grammy Award winning albums. His book Blues Keyboard Method, with a foreword by Chuck Leavell, of the Rolling Stones, was published by Hal Leonard in 2015.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, in a family with Irish heritage, Sammon began learning to play the piano as a young child. He learned traditional Irish folk songs by ear while listening to records with his father, Martin Sammon Sr., a Chicago police officer. His parents realized that their son was a prodigy son with an ear for music and encouraged him to take piano lessons. He enjoyed the experience but also developed his musical ear by listening to many styles of music.[2] He competed in contests, including the World Championship Old-Time Piano Players[3] (winning championships in 1994 and 1995).[3]

At the age of 15, he began playing on the Chicago blues scene with the South Side guitarist L.V. Banks.[4] He was under age and was driven to venues by his father.

Marty Sammon Performing At Buddy Guy's Legends.
Sammon performing at Buddy Guy's Legends with Buddy Guy

Sammon began receiving calls to play with many Chicago artists, including Phil Guy.[2] He performed and toured with Guy and other blues musicians for years, while also performing headlining gigs, including a tour in Latvia.[5][6] The turning point of his career came when he played with Guy at the original Checkerboard Lounge during the weekend of the Chicago Blues Festival.

After five years with Otis Rush, in which he played on Rush's 2003 DVD, Live Part One, and on Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: A Musical Journey (which won Grammy Awards for Best Historical Album and Best Album Notes) - Godfathers and Sons,[7] Sammon was contacted by Phil Guy: "It was late night and I was home when the phone rang. I didn't know the number so I ignored it. My brother Mike convinced me to answer saying that 'that could be THE call!' It was Phil Guy saying that I had the Buddy gig and, by the way, Y'all leave Thursday. I'll be forever grateful to Phil and to my bro for that!"[2]

Sammon has performed worldwide with Buddy Guy and as an opening act with his own ensemble, the Marty Sammon Band. He contributed to Guy's sixth Grammy Award–winning album, Living Proof.[8] He has also recorded numerous releases under his own name. Sammon also performed at schools and universities[9] to promote the blues and music career development education.[10]

In September 2015, Sammon made an uncredited appearance on the television program Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, in the episode "Delicious Destinations—Milwaukee".

On October 14, 2015, Sammon performed with Buddy Guy and Tom Hambridge at the White House for "A Celebration of American Creativity: In Performance at the White House", commemorating the 50th anniversary of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Sammon's influences included Peter Sliwka, Dr. John, Scott Joplin, Professor Longhair, Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Otis Spann, Pinetop Perkins, Ray Charles, Eubie Blake, Fats Waller, Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway, Curtis Mayfield, and Bruce Hornsby.[citation needed]

Sammon died on October 15, 2022, at the age of 45.[11]


Album Artist Media Notes
Live at Legends Buddy Guy CD 2012 RCA[12]
Say What You Mean Phil Guy CD 2000 JSP Records[13]
Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: Godfathers and Sons Various artists CD *Grammy Award[14]
Getting There Quinn Sullivan CD 2013 Superstar Records[15]
Buddy Guy North Seas Jazz Festival Buddy Guy DVD [16]
Buddy Guy Live in Lugano Switzerland Buddy Guy DVD
Ragged & Dirty Devon Allman CD 2014 RUF Records[17]
Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival Various artists DVD 2008 Rhino Entertainment
Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival Various artists DVD 2010[citation needed]
Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival Various artists DVD 2013
Carlos Santana Santana Presents the Blues Carlos Santana DVD 2004 Eagle Rock Entertainment[18]
Otis Rush Blues Express Otis Rush CD and DVD 1999 Blues Express[19]
Tear This World Up Eddie C. Campbell CD Delmark Artist Performances[20]
Living Proof Buddy Guy CD and Album *Grammy Award Best Contemporary Blues Album, appearance on "Let the Door Knob Hit Ya", produced by Tom Hambridge[8]
Experience Hendrix Tour Various artists DVD 2008 Image Entertainment[21]
Robert Randolph Presents the Slide Brothers Various artists CD 2012 Dare Records[22]
Jump Start Lil' Ed Williams and the Blues Imperials CD 2012 Alligator Records[23]
Do Your Thing! Michael Coleman CD 2000 Delmark Records[24]
Stoned Soul Giles Corey CD 2014 Delmark Records[25]
What We Are Rick Simcox CD 2012 RSTQ Records[26]
Rob Blaine's Big Otis Blues Rob Blaine CD 2012 Swississippi Records[27]
Four Aces and a Harp Swississippi Chris Harper CD 2010 Swississippi Records[28]
Marty Sammon Band Live Marty Sammon CD 2002[29]
Marty Sammon Honky Tonk Piano Party Marty Sammon CD
Marty Sammon Songs Before My Time Marty Sammon CD
Marty Sammon Hound Dog Barkin' Marty Sammon CD 2010 (Originals Re-Release)[30]
Marty Sammon Live at Orazio's Marty Sammon CD
Marty Sammon Right At Home Marty Sammon CD
190 Proof Blues Marty Sammon and Tom Holland CD 2008[31] Live performance filmed and aired on WDCB 90.9 FM, with Scott "Hambone" Hammer[32]


  1. ^ Hal Leonard Corporation. "Hal Leonard Corporation". Retrieved 2016-07-25.
  2. ^ a b c "Chicago Piano Lessons – Blues, Jazz, Rock, Classical, R&B, & more. – Blog". 2010-05-20. Retrieved 2012-03-21.
  3. ^ a b "World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest". Archived from the original on July 18, 2009. Retrieved July 5, 2011.
  4. ^ "Mr. G's Thoughts for Free". Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  5. ^ "Latvian Blues Band". Archived from the original on 19 January 2015. Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  6. ^ "Latvietis GILES COREY". Archived from the original on March 23, 2012. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
  7. ^ "The Blues. The Songs & the Artists. Discography. Godfathers and Sons – PBS". Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  8. ^ a b "Living Proof – Buddy Guy". AllMusic. 2010-10-25. Retrieved 2012-03-21.
  9. ^ "Daily Herald – Electronic Archive". Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  10. ^ John DesRivieres. "Blues Artists Perform at UWMC". Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  11. ^ Edwards, Eve (16 October 2022). "RIP Marty Sammon: Death of pianist at 45 rocks Chicago blues community". The Focus. Retrieved 17 October 2022.
  12. ^ "Live at Legends by Buddy Guy @ALLmusic". Allmusic. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  13. ^ "Say What You Mean by Phil Guy @ARTISTdirect". ARTISTdirect. Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  14. ^ "Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: Godfathers and Sons – Original Soundtrack – Credits – AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  15. ^ "Getting There – Quinn Sullivan – Credits – AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  16. ^ "Festival de Jazz de Montreaux 2004 / Jean-Marc Chevillard, Vincent Guelat, Romain Guelat [motion picture]:Bibliographic Record Description: Performing Arts Encyclopedia, Library of Congress". Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  17. ^ "Ragged and Dirty by Devon Allman @AllMusic". Allmusic. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  18. ^ "Plays Blues at Montreux 2004 by Carlos Santana @ARTISTdirect". ARTISTdirect. Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  19. ^ "Eddie C. Campbell - Tear This World Up - Delmark Records 2009". Archived from the original on March 26, 2012. Retrieved July 6, 2011.
  20. ^ "Delmark Artist Performances". Retrieved 2012-03-21.
  21. ^ "Experience Hendrix Tour – 2008 – Concert Photos from October 18, 2008 (Boston, MA) Performance". Archived from the original on 19 January 2015. Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  22. ^ "Robert Randolph Presents: The Slide Brothers – The Slide Brothers – Credits – AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  23. ^ "Alligator Records – Genuine Houserockin' Music Since 1971". Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  24. ^ "Do Your Thing! – Michael Coleman – Credits – AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  25. ^ "Giles Corey's Stoned Soul". Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  26. ^ "Rick Simcox What We Are". Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  27. ^ "Rob Blaine's Big Otis Blues – Rob Blaine – Release Credits – AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  28. ^ "Blues Blast Magazine – – Blues CD Review". Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  29. ^ D. "Marty Sammon Band: Live CD Track Listing". Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  30. ^ "Marty Sammon – Hound Dog Barkin'". Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  31. ^ "Doppler Productions - TuneCore". Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  32. ^ "90.9fm WDCB - Error". Retrieved 19 January 2015.

External links[edit]