Primary Instrument: Drums
Sammy Banks is a true Legendary Jazz Drummer who has been a driving force in the Central Pennsylvania Jazz scene for many years. He has also been inducted into the Pennsylvania Friends of Jazz Hall of Fame. He has played with almost every jazz musician in the area, and throughout the United States. Sam is a self-taught drummer who has inspired many young drummers due to his unique bi-bop style. Among the notable area groups with which he has performed was Marj and the Majors of Harrisburg, which included bassist Art Davis, Snook Butler, Diddie Potter, and Bub Veenie. In the 1950s, Sam played with one of the best jazz bands that came out of Harrisburg, called the Brown Bombers, which included musicians such as: John Brown, Bub Veenie, Pink Goodson, and Rudy Thomas. Sam also played on 52nd street with such greats as Coleman Hawkins, Gene Ammons, Sonny Stitt, Dexter Gordan, Lester Young, etc. Sam was also cited as being one of the greatest drummers that came through Baltimore back in the 1940-50s and landed gigs up and down the Pennsylvania Ave, including the Baltimore Royal Theater where he played with such greats as Roy “Tanglefoot” McCoy, Illinois Jacquet, Baby Lawrence, Paul and Doug Bascomb Big Band, Step Brothers, Bud Powell, Leo Parker, June Richmond, Al Grey, Ray Brown, Lionel Hampton, etc. Other musicians included Johnny Coles, Frankie Scott, Joe Williams, David Young, John Blake, Rufus Reid, etc. Sam backed such greats as: Ella Fitzgerald, Pearl Bailey, Sarah Vaughn, Redd Foxx, Arthur Prysock, Joe Williams, Billy Eckstine...... he was also well respected among other professional drummers such as, Papa Joe Jones, Art Blakely, Chic Web, Max Roach and Lionel Hampton. Sam also played with a whole host of local musicians, such as: Ronald Waters, Jimmy Woods, Bob Brookins, J.J. Riggins, Steve Rudolph, Fred Hughes, Steve Meashey, Andy Roberts, Tom Strohman, Jim Miller, Bill Fisher, Reuel Ryman, Cedric Lawson, Jerry Swaller, Muddy Waters, Fred Holt, Jesse Avery, Bill Fisher, Cathy Chemi, Jack Snavely, Danny Stuber, etc. ……… And the list goes on.