Tripti Joshi (Editor)

Sam Lazar

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Name  Sam Lazar

Role  Musical Artist
Sam Lazar wwwhammondjazznetimgmusiciansala1jpg
Albums  Space Flight, Soul Merchant, Playback, Thing
Similar People  Grant Green, Willie Dixon, Shelly Manne, Count Basie, Clark Terry

Sam lazar soul merchant full album 1962 soul jazz

Sam Lazar (born 1933) was an American pianist and Hammond organist originally from St. Louis, Missouri. A mysterious figure who disappeared from the music scene in the early 1960s, he is best known for fronting a group that included early work from guitarist Grant Green.


Sam Lazar wwwhammondjazznetimgalbumsltplaybackjpg

Early career in music

Little is known about Lazar's life, with much of his biographical information coming from the liner notes of his albums. The liner notes on his first LP on Argo Records approximates his birth year as 1933. Initially a pianist, Lazar 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.

Transition to organ

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.

Recording career

Sam Lazar 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 as an album titled Grant Green: The Holy Barbarian, St. Louis, 1959. Lazar made his first recordings a few months later in 1960, a single on Cawthorn Records, and his first album, Space Flight on Chicago-based Argo Records. Space Flight was recorded in 1960 with bassist Willie Dixon, Williams and Green. He went on to make several albums in the 1960s for Argo, but they were not commercially successful.



  • "Space Flight, Parts 1 and 2" (Cawthron 507, released c. 1959, with guitarist Grant Green)
  • "Camp Meeting" / "I Ain't Mad At You" (Argo 5247, released 1962. Also issued as Checker single 1030)
  • Albums:

  • Space Flight (Argo, 1960)
  • Playback (Argo, 1962)
  • Soul Merchant (Argo, 1962)
  • Grant Green: The Holy Barbarian, St. Louis, 1959 (Uptown Records, 2012)
  • References

    Sam Lazar Wikipedia

    Similar Topics
    Clark Terry
    Count Basie
    Grant Green