Sammy Lowe had his heart set on playing professional baseball but music became his favorite past time and his ticket to the music major league.
One of Birmingham, Alabama's most prolific arrangers, Sammy was the chief arranger and composer for the Erskine Hawkins Orchestra for nearly 22 years. His list of monster hits with the band include, “Bearmash Blues,” “Nona,” “No Soap,” “Midnight Stroll,” “Bicycle Bounce” and “Raid the Joint.”
His arrangement of “I've Got a Right to Cry” for Birmingham vocalist Laura Washington soared on the national charts in 1946. Sammy's big band swing days included gigs with bandleaders Cab Calloway, Lucky Millinder, Sammy Davis, Jr., Sy Oliver and Don Redman. His rock-n-roll days were spent arranging for The Platters (”My Prayer”), Al Hirt, Sam Cooke, The Isley Brothers, The Tokens, the Godfather of Soul, James Brown and many others.
Al Hirt called Sammy the “best arranger in the business.” Sammy arranged James Brown's 1966 million seller record single, “It's A Man's, Man's, Man's World.” His other million-seller single recordings include The Tokens' “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” Sylvia's “Pillow Talk,” Roy Hamilton's “You Can Have Her” and the Moment's “Sexy Mama.”
Below is an example of Sammy Lowe's conducting and arranging on Verve Records, as follows:
Pat Thomas with Sammy Lowe Orchestra
Taft Jordan, Joe Wilder, Snooky Young (trumpets) / Johnny Hodges (alto sax) / Hank Jones (piano) / Everett Barksdale (guitar) / Lloyd Trotman (bass) / Panama Francis (drums) / Pat Thomas (vocal) / Sammy Lowe (arranger, conductor) / unidentified strings
NYC, August 14, 1962
62VK585 Try a Little Tenderness Verve unissued
62VK586 All About Ronnie -
62VK587 Love on a Rainbow -
Sammy Lowe was one of the Charter members of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in 1978.
Sammy Lowe (May 14, 1918, Birmingham, Alabama - February 17, 1993, Birmingham) was an American trumpeter, arranger, and conductor.
Lowe was active both in jazz and in R&B music, particularly in the 1950s and 1960s. From the 1930's to the late '50's, he arranged music and played trumpet for the Erskine Hawkins Orchestra. He is present on many recordings of Erskine. He also recorded with alto saxophonist Bobby Smith and made arrangements for Dud Bascomb. From the late '50's until his semi-retirement in 1990, he arranged music for Nina Simone (1967), Al Hirt, Benny Goodman, Connie Francis, Sam Cooke, The Softones, The Tokens, The Platters, Brook Benton, Sylvia, Ray, Goodman & Brown, Cameo, Little Peggy March, Della Reese, Panama Francis and Pat Thomas among others. He is perhaps best known for being one of James Brown's arrangers, including on the hits "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" and "Prisoner of Love".
Lowe was one of the first inductees to the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame.
Listen: The Moments - Download The Moments Music on iTunes
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