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Sam Dockery Sam Dockery

Although not a huge name in the jazz world, veteran hard bop pianist Sam Dockery has been well-respected on the Philadelphia jazz scene since the early '50s. Over the years, Dockery has enjoyed a reputation for being a very hard-swinging, straight- ahead player; Bud Powell is a major influence on Dockery, as are Thelonious Monk and Art Tatum. Dockery, who is originally from Lawnside, NJ but has spent much of his life in and around Philly, is perhaps best known for the year he was with Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers. Dockery, a frequent visitor to New York City, was with drummer Blakey's Jazz Messengers in 1956 and 1957; he was Blakey's pianist after Horace Silver and Kenny Drew Sr. and before Junior Mance or Bobby Timmons. During his stay in that legendary group, Dockery was part of a five-man lineup that also included trumpeter Bill Hardman, alto saxophonist Jackie McLean (pre-Blue Note) and bassist Spanky DeBrest; at times, that quintet became a sextet when Chicago icon Johnny Griffin was added on tenor sax. But Blakey wasn't the only well- known jazz musician Dockery played with during his youth; the late '50s and early '60s found him being featured in Philly tenor saxophonist Jimmy Heath's quartet, which employed Buster Williams on bass and Specs Wright on drums. And along the way, Dockery also crossed paths with heavyweight improvisers ranging from trumpeter Clifford Brown (four years before Dockery's association with Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers) to saxophonists Sonny Stitt, Benny Golson and Stan Getz

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