Feature Story - The HC Cinema Prize Winner -
saxophonist Sam Butera Dies.
Family friends said Butera died at about 6 a.m.
June 3rd, 2009 -- at Sunrise Hospital, where he had
been since early January suffering from the effects
of Alzheimer's Disease.
Butera, who retired in 2004, would have been 82 in
About Sam Butera
Sam Butera was born on August 17, 1927 in New
where his father, Joe, ran Poor Boy's Grocery &
Meat Market. His mother's name was Rose and
he had a brother, Joe, Jr. Sam always loved music
and at a young age, was given a saxophone by his
father. At the age of eighteen, in a contest
held at Carnegie Hall in New York City, Sam was
voted the Outstanding Teenage Musician in
America by Look Magazine.
Upon graduation, he went on the road with Ray
McKinley, with whom he made his recording debut on
McKinley's versions of "Civilization" and
"Celery Stalks At Midnight". After stints
with various bands including Tommy Dorsey, Joe
Richman, and Al Hirt, Sam returned home. Once
home, Sam played at Leon Prima's 500 Club, where he
and his five-piece band backed bad comics and
In his spare time, Sam jammed with the band of one
of his father's customers, Paul Gayten, who had one
of the top bands in the city. In 1951 a
recording was made of Sam with Paul for Regal
records. Eventually, Sam formed his own group
and produced such hits as "Easy Rockin'" and
"Chicken Scratch" for RCA Victor.
When Louis Prima was looking for his Vegas band,
his brother reminded him of Sam. In 1954 Sam joined
Louis Prima and Keely Smith in Las Vegas, and the
rest is musical history. Together they
recorded several albums, appeared on many T.V.
shows, starred in several movies and broke
attendance records in every showroom and lounge in
Sam recorded for Cadence under his own name and,
after the Capitol signing, for subsidiary label
Prep as Sam Butera & The Witnesses. The group
was also given billing on all Prima recordings.
Sam appeared with Frank Sinatra across America from
Caesars Palace in Las Vegas to the Latin Casino in
Philadelphia. The two recorded the song
"Stargazer", which was written by Neil Diamond and
was released through Reprise Records.
Sam has also appeared with Danny Thomas, Jerry
Vale, Sergio Franchi, Jimmy Roselli, Troy Cory
Show, and Sammy Davis, Jr. with whom he recorded an
album "Sam Meets Sam, When The Feeling Hits
On April 3, 1998 the Augustus Society gave Sam the
"Life Time Achievement" and the "Entertainer of the
Year" awards. In 1999 the Tropicana Casino
and Hotel inducted Sam Butera into the "Las Vegas
Hall of Fame".
On June 1st 2000 the Harrison Carroll Cinema Prize
Award gave Sam the coveted "Life Time Achievement"
Media award for his "They Said on Stage, TV-radio
& and vMusic."
02h TIMELINE-Click for
More Sam Butera dies at 81; 1950s-'60s tenor
Butera Band Members - 1980 Phil
DiRe, trumpet, tenor and alto saxes and baritone
saxaphonist; Buck Menari, trumpet & formely
lead horn with Elvis Presley; Arnie Tech, pianist;
Jim James (Jimbo), trumpeter and trombonist; Bob
Sachs, bassist; Chuck Stevens, drummer (brother of
Butera is renowned as one of the most impeccable
players of the tenor sax of this or any other
musical era. Sam, with his distinctive sax
playing and his powerful "pointed" vocals, has
thrilled millions via performances from Las Vegas'
major showrooms to the famed Copacabana in New York
City. If you own any of his recordings, or
have seen his television, and motion picture
appearances, this segment of the "R&B Plus" TV
series Directed by Troy Cory - 1980. It is a must
to see . . . Sam is at his best. TVI
TeleComunication Study - Regulatory Frequency
We Preserve The
tviNews S90 Profiles4 Sam Butera dies at 81;
1950s-'60s tenor saxophonist.
former Louis Prima saxophonist, dies
Right Fix For Louis
- Keely Smith
Photos: Troy Cory, ePublisher TVI, Author and
Entertainer; Josie Cory, Publisher/Editor, TVI
Story / smart90.com/sambutera
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