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Sammy Price

From Honey Grove, Texas, Samuel Blythe Price grew up in Waco, where he learned to play alto saxophone. Portia Pittman, the daughter of Booker T. Washington was his piano teacher in Dallas. His career began in 1925 when he joined the Alphone Trent Orchestra as a Charleston dancer, soon after he was leading his own big band in Dallas. In the twenties, he performed with Benny Long, Lem Johnson, Leonard Chadwick, and in 1927, he toured with the Let’s Go Show.

Price lived in Kansas City, Chicago, and Detroit before settling in New York where he began a long relationship with Decca Records. As a recording supervisor and arranger he worked with many top artists of the time including Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Peetie Wheatstraw, and Blue Lu Baker. Price also led his own group the Texas Blusicians. In the 1940’s, Price recorded for Mezz Mezzrow’s King Label as both a solo and boogie-woogie pianist; he also sided with Sidney Bechet and organized the first black-run jazz festival in Philadelphia.

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