picture of Sam Lazar
Sam Lazar
Initially a pianist, Sam (* 1933) played in Ernie Wilkins group before Wilkins left St. Louis to join Count Basie. This was followed by a stint in George Hudson's big band which also included Clark Terry and Jimmy Forrest at various times. After a tour with alto saxophonist Tab Smith, Lazar was in the United States Army from 1951-1953. Upon discharge, he began studying medical technology.
 
In 1958, Lazar saw the Jimmy Smith trio at the Peacock Alley club in St. Louis and was inspired to play the Hammond organ and return to music. His St. Louis-based organ combo later included guitarists Grant Green, Joe Diorio, George Eskridge, drummer Chauncey Williams and saxophonist Miller Brisker among others. Lazar's group played a variety of gigs from strip clubs to jazz clubs, and was reportedly one of the first interracial combos in the area.
 
Sam spent a week around Christmas, 1959, playing at the Holy Barbarian nightclub in St. Louis. He performed as part of a quartet with Grant Green, Chauncey Williams, and tenor saxophonist Bob Graf. Their performances at the club were recorded, but went unreleased for decades, until Uptown Records released the concerts in 2012. Lazar made his first recordings a few months later in 1960, and went on to make several albums in the early 1960s for Argo, but they were not commercially successful. Sam disappeared from the music scene in the 1960s.
 
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Discography
Space Flight
Argo Records LPS-4002
recorded June 1960 in Chicago, IL/USA
Sam Lazar, organ
Grant Green, guitar
Willie Dixon, bass
Chauncey Williams, drums
Playback
Argo Records LPS-4015
recorded 1961 in Chicago, IL/USA
Sam Lazar, organ
Miller Brisker, sax
Joe Diorio, guitar
Phillip Wilson, drums
Soul Merchant
Argo Records LPS-714
recorded November 1962 in Chicago, IL/USA
Sam Lazar, organ
George Eskridge, guitar
Miller Brisker, tenor sax
Phil Thomas, drums
The Holy Barbarian St. Louis 1959
Uptown Records UPCD 27.68
recorded December 1959 and February 1960 at the Holy Barbarian coffee house in St. Louis, MO/USA
previously unreleased recordings

Grant Green, guitar
Bob Graf, tenor sax
Sam Lazar, organ
Chauncey Williams, drums
Organ Grooves
Jasmine Records JASMCD 2674
contains Space Flight (Argo LPS-4002), Playback (Argo LPS-4015) and two additional tracks
Sam Lazar, organ
further details see under the appr. albums

 
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