Sax Master Sam Butera R.I.P.

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Sam Butera, the hard-driving, hard-swinging New Orleans saxophonist who was Louis Prima’s longtime musical partner, died Wednesday in Las Vegas following a long illness. He was 81. Mr. Butera joined Prima’s band in 1954. With singer Keely Smith, they built one of the most popular acts in the golden age of Las Vegas. Mr. Butera cooked up the arrangements that gave the likes of “Just a Gigolo”/ “I Ain’t Got Nobody” and “Jump Jive An’ Wail” maximum impact. “Louis’s ace-in-the-hole was Sam Butera,” said Gia Prima, the fifth of Louis’s five wives and the singer in his band from 1962 to 1975. “That animal attraction that they had, with Sam’s honking sax and Louis’s jumping and jiving — without Sam, Louis couldn’t have pulled it off.” Mr. Butera grew up in the 7th Ward. His father owned Poor Boys Grocery & Meat Market. One evening the elder Butera took his son to see a big band, and asked the boy which horn he liked the best….”The saxophones were closest, so I pointed to the saxophones,” Mr. Butera recalled in a 1996 interview. “The next day I had a horn.”

Please see the rest of the article from Keith Spera here.

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Setlist Architect/Art Scene Checker-Outer/Sound Feeler
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