Edgar Sampson, Saxophone, 1907, New York, NY
In addition to playing the saxophone, Edgar also played the violin, composed, and arranged. He started with the violin, and while in his late teens took up the saxophone. His first gig was with Joe Coleman in the mid '20s, and then he went with Duke Ellington, Bingie Madison, and the saxophonist Billy Fowler. The last part of the decade found him with Arthur Gibbs, Charlie Johnson, and Alex Jackson, all popular bands in the New York area. In 1931 Edgar went with Fletcher Henderson, remaining for two years, and then played with Rex Stewart's band as a violinist and arranger for around a year. In 1933, while working with Chick Webb, Sampson composed two of his greatest hits: "Stomping At The Savoy", and "Don't Be That Way", which are among the best known standards that really became popular with Benny Goodman, not Chick Webb. He then devoted most of his efforts to freelance arranging, working for Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Red Norvo, and Teddy Wilson. During the early '50s he performed and arranged for the Latin bands of Marcellino Guerra, Tito Puente, and Tito Rodriguez. From the late '50s into the early '60s Edgar led small groups of his own. Edgar Sampson died in 1973.
Herman Riley, Saxophone, 1940, New Orleans, LA
As a youth, Herman received his music education from private teachers in the New Orleans area. His first professional gigs were with swing and blues bands in and around New Orleans. During his army service service in the mid '50s, he played in several different army bands. After his discharge he moved to California, where he attended San Diego City College from 1957 until1963, and played in various bands led by Bobby Bryant, Shelly Manne, Count Basie, Quincy Jones,and Donald Byrd. With Bryant he also recorded and performed at the Montery Jazz Festival in1969. In 1973 Riley played at the Concord Jazz Festival with the Quincy Jones orchestra, and the following year toured Europe with Wes Montgomery's group. He later recorded with the swinging Capp-Pierce Juggernaut band and with Lionel Hampton in the early part of the '80s.. Although he worked with many leaders, Herman also maintained an active group of his own much of the time.
Paul Winter, Sax, 1939, Altoona, PA
Paul formed his first sextet while studying music at Northwestern University, with which he played the alto saxophone. In 1961 this group won the Intercollegiate Jazz Festival. Dizzy Gillespie and John Hammond were among the judges. It was John Hammond who signed the group to a Columbia contract. During the 1960s Paul gained national and international recognition with an extensive tour of Latin America sponsored by the U.S. State Department. At this time he established a group that departed from the conventional instrumentation of jazz; and in 1967 he formed the Paul Winter Consort, combining Latin American, African, and Western instruments. During the 1970s this innovative group included the guitarist Ralph Towner, bass player Glen Moore, sitarist and percussionist Collin Walcott, reed player Paul McCandless, and the cellist David Darling. Paul also became concerned with conservation ,and the problem of endangered species throughout the world. He eagerly joined expeditions by the organization Greenpeace, and in often successful attempts to communicate with animals in the wild, played to whales off the Canadian coast and to wolves in the mountains of California and Minnesota. Tapes of these wonderful experiments became the basis for the album "Common Ground" that was recorded in 1977. In 1980 Paul formed a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering general participation in music and a new awareness of the potential of harmony and rhythm. Today, Paul and his group continue to perform and issue records on the organization's behalf, often in natural environments such as the Grand Canyon.