Sam Woodyard

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Sam Woodyard in 1965

Sam Woodyard (January 7, 1925, Elizabeth, New Jersey - September 20, 1988, Paris, France) was an American jazz drummer.

Woodyard was largely an autodidact on drums, and played locally in the Newark, New Jersey area in the 1940s. He gigged with Paul Gayten in an R&B group, and then played in the early 1950s with Joe Holiday, Roy Eldridge, and Milt Buckner. In 1955, he joined Duke Ellington's orchestra, and remained the ensemble's drummer until 1966.

After his time with Ellington, Woodyard played behind Ella Fitzgerald, and then moved to Los Angeles. In the 1970s he played less due to health problems, but recorded with Buddy Rich and toured with Claude Bolling. In 1983 he played in a band with Teddy Wilson, Buddy Tate, and Slam Stewart. His last recording was on Steve Lacy's 1988 album The Door; he died a little more than a month afterward.


With Paul Gonsalves

With Johnny Hodges

With Quincy Jones

With Clark Terry

With Jimmy Woode

Duke Ellington & John Coltrane (1963)