Cincinnati Babyhead

Speaks his mind on music & movies!

Duke’s Sidemen : Sam Woodyard

Here’s another of Dukes great sidemen. Sam Woodyard. He was Ellington’s Drummer for ten years. He anchored the band and put the swing and beat into the music.

When lists come out on great rock drummers like Ginger Baker, Charlies Watts, Bill Bruford etc. You gotta know that they learned their chops from guys like Sam. Plus Ginger and the boys were never shy about giving credit to the drummers they listened to. I would guess that SW would be in that conversation.

It’s easy to take for granted the musicians that played in Duke’s band but when I listen to his music, band members like Woodyard grab my ear and have me snapping my fingers and tapping my toes. He swings. Just another example of the kind of musicianship that Ellington collected to play his music. He always featured them and “banged their drums”. He let them cut loose. I know he loved his guys.

CB always likes a good drum solo. Check out some of Sams work below. I think you will dig it. I know I do. Cool thing is he does it in a suit and tie. Now that’s cool!

33 comments on “Duke’s Sidemen : Sam Woodyard

  1. Francisco Bravo Cabrera
    February 21, 2021

    No doubt that Ellington always chose top musicians and his drummer was the best and a most important part of the band. I went to see Roy Hanes and also Elvin Jones in New York, memorable, incredible experience in music! Great post CB! All the best to you,
    FBC.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jim S.
    February 21, 2021

    I must say that CB knows his Ellington. Fierce drum solo. I ought to share that with that guy I met in LA who chairs the Buddy Rich band. Your choices of rock drummers here are spot on. Baker and Bruford are really jazz drummers. And while the Rolling Stones are about as far from jazz as you can get, Charlie is a jazz aficionado and sometimes plays out with his own nonet or quintet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      February 21, 2021

      Wasnt one of those folks you run into in LA, Rich’s son (I just picked up a Rich/ Krupa album)? You know your rock/jazz drummers.

      Like

      • Jim S.
        February 21, 2021

        No, it was the elegant Cathy Rich, his daughter. No BS about her. Talked to her a fair bit. Tried to convince her to bring the band to Boston. Her husband Gregg Potter is the leader of the Buddy Rich big band. Good drummer but a funny, wise ass joker from Chicago. CB would like him.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        February 21, 2021

        That was it, his daughter. Being Buddy’s offspring would have been an adventure. Sounds like she kinda got a guy in her dads mold.

        Like

      • Jim S.
        February 21, 2021

        Cathy is not a jazzer. She’s a boomer and knows and loves all the tunes. She told us the story of taking pops to see Zep, figuring he’d be impressed by Bonham. Naive, probably. He didn’t have much to say. I think there were rock bands (and drummers) he dug like Chicago’s Danny Seraphine. But note, Chicago was closer to a big band. Zep must have set him back on his heels.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        February 21, 2021

        I think dad would be a pretty harsh critic. Good thing she didnt take him to a country show. He hated that shit.

        Like

      • Jim S.
        February 21, 2021

        I’ve been wanting to do interviews on my site for a while but haven’t gotten around to it. Do you think that an interview with Cathy and her husband would be of interest?

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        February 21, 2021

        It would be of interest to some folks. It was like your tour out West. You had good response with that. I’d certainly read it. We would see Docs talent as an interviewer.

        Like

      • Jim S.
        February 21, 2021

        I’ve been thinking about it for a while. I think they’re not touring (Cathy manages the band) and so they’re pretty much sitting around bored stiff like everybody else.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Yeah, Another Blogger
    February 21, 2021

    Ellington was the greatest. As acclaimed as he was, I think he in some ways is under-appreciated. What an amazing composer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      February 21, 2021

      Something very wrong about the “under- appreciated” thing. Especially when so much so called entertainment get the notice. Duke was so much more than the music.. I dont know what they teach in schools down there but he should be known from early grades up through post secondary. I think I agree with you.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. christiansmusicmusings
    February 21, 2021

    As Stevie Wonder once sang, ’You can feel it all over.’ Look how relaxed Sam Woodyard looks – amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. hotfox63
    February 22, 2021

    I don’t know much about Sam Woodyard, but it seems that he had an erotic relationship with his drumming, otherwise Ellington probably wouldn’t have composed “A Drum Is A Woman”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      February 22, 2021

      I would guess you’re right. It might elude to Jimmy Blanton also.

      Liked by 1 person

      • hotfox63
        February 22, 2021

        Absolutely! Although Blanton died with only 23 years, he revolutionized the contrabass playing. Without him there would be no Oscar Pettiford, Ray Brown or Charles Mingus.

        Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        February 22, 2021

        Trying to find footage of Blanton is rare.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. J.
    February 22, 2021

    Some proper quality drum shenanigans going on there.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. BuriedOnMars
    February 22, 2021

    Nice! I enjoyed that.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. keepsmealive
    February 22, 2021

    Man, thank you for this. Get the word out there!

    You nailed it in two words: “He swings.”

    Liked by 1 person

  9. 1537
    February 23, 2021

    Great choice CB – what a drummer!

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      February 23, 2021

      Something so cool and natural about it. Talent and hard work coming together. Duke had so many guys like Sam in his band. Unbelievable really.

      Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on February 21, 2021 by in Duke Ellington, Jazz, Sam Woodyard and tagged , , , .

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