Sam Woodyard

Sam Woodyard (January 7, 1925 – September 20, 1988) was an American jazz drummer.

Sam Woodyard
Sam Woodyard in 1965
Background information
Born(1925-01-07)January 7, 1925
Elizabeth, New Jersey, U.S.
DiedSeptember 20, 1988(1988-09-20) (aged 63)
Paris, France

Woodyard was largely an autodidact on drums and played locally in the Newark, New Jersey area in the 1940s. He performed with Paul Gayten in an R&B group, then played in the early 1950s with Joe Holiday, Roy Eldridge, and Milt Buckner. In 1955 he joined Duke Ellington's orchestra and remained until 1966.

After his time with Ellington, Woodyard worked with Ella Fitzgerald, then moved to Los Angeles. In the 1970s he played less due to health problems, but he recorded with Buddy Rich and toured with Claude Bolling. In 1983 he belonged to a band with Teddy Wilson, Buddy Tate, and Slam Stewart. His last recording was on Steve Lacy's 1988 album The Door.

Partial discography

With Duke Ellington

With Johnny Hodges

With Clark Terry

With others


  1. "Sam Woodyard | Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
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