“Sam’s saxophone style shows that he’s got people like Ben Webster and Coleman Hawkins on his mind as much as he does anyone from Mississippi; he flows like water over the solid comping of Sunnyland and the well-oiled band behind him,” David Whitheis wrote in the Chicago Reader.
Born in Switzerland in 1957, Sam started playing the drums when he was ten years old. He played his first gig with noted Blues pianist Eddie Boyd at the age of fourteen. Several years later, he picked-up the saxophone in order to play in his brother’s band. In April of 1975, he met Sunnyland Slim, the legendary Chicago Blues musician, and had the chance to accompany him at two concerts. Fifteen years later, Sam and Sunnyland produced a CD of a tape of their first meeting, which is available on Airway Records (4757), entitled “Sunnyland Slim, Live in Europe, 1975.”
In 1982, Sam came to Chicago at Sunnyland’s invitation and has played in his band until Sunnyland’s death in March, 1995. He recorded and produced an album with Sunnyland and his band (available on Evidence Records “The Sunnyland Slim Blues Band – Chicago Jump”) in 1985. Over the years, he has performed or recorded with some of Chicago’s finest musicians, such as Hubert Sumlin, Johnny Littlejohn, Steve Freund, Robert Stroger, Robert Covington, Pinetop Perkins, Erwin Helfer, Floyd McDaniel, Jimmy Rogers, Louis and Dave Myers, Fred Below, Smokey Smothers, Zora Young and Big Time Sarah. Sunnyland and his band have performed at the Chicago Blues and the Chicago Jazz Festival, and other major festivals in the United States. In 1992, Sunnyland’s band, Steve Freund, Robert Stroger, the late Robert Covington, and Sam, started performing under the name “The Big Four” and toured Europe on a regular basis. They recorded a CD in Germany which was released in 1994.
While on tour in Germany with “The Big Four”, a newspaper critic said of Sam’s playing: “His warm earthy tone and rich intonation set the highlights of the evening. With his rendition of the old Ellington standard “Things Ain’t What They Used To Be” he proved that he would have fit perfectly well into Duke’s band.”
At the end of 1994, Sam went on tour in Japan with the late Floyd McDaniel, Yoko Noge, and Clark Dean. The same year, Sam helped start “The Mighty Blue Kings,” a group of seven musicians which quickly gained popularity. Through their regular performance at the Green Mill on Tuesday nights, they established a large following. The release party for their debut CD in 1996, “Meet Me In Uptown,” was attended by over 3,000 people. Over 60,000 copies of their CD have been sold. In September of 1996, he left “The Mighty Blue Kings.” At the end of that year, he helped form a ten-piece Jump-Swing band, “The Big Swing.” He performed with this band regularly in the Chicago land area. In spring of 1997, he toured Switzerland with Donny Nichilo and Bob Carter. In fall of 1998, he organized a successful tour with “The Big Swing,” which took the band to Germany, Switzerland and Belgium.
Since then, he has been working on different projects, including the formation of his own group.
Liner Notes by Sam Burckhardt
Between 1995 and 1998, I had been a part of two successful bands, The Mighty Blue Kings and The Big Swing, and I often played five nights a week. When I left The Big Swing towards the end of 1998, I wanted to record some of the tunes I had written over the past few years, with some of the musicians I have had the pleasure to work with and get to know. I felt that the musicians would speak to the musical places I had dwelled in, and the experiences we had shared. I hope that they will also give a hint of places I may visit in the future.
I also wanted to write more songs. I began to approach song writing as my occupation. For the first time in my life, I systematically collected ideas and wrote music, every day. Nine tunes, written between February and June, 1999, are the results of these efforts. The other songs were written between 1994 (“Monk’s Hat”) and 1998 (“Changes and Chances”).
Some songs were written with a particular musician in mind whose “voice” I heard when I wrote the song. Some were written for a specific person, as an expression of my appreciation for their support and encouragement. Others were written for a specific project or band, or simply evolved out of a melodic idea, a riff, or a chord structure. In all cases, these songs each evolved over time, some slower, some faster, as works in progress. They achieved their present shape and form when, in the apt hands of my friends, they were brought to life. Without the nurture, direction and energy of these musicians, this music would have remained but ideas on paper.
This CD is dedicated to all the people whose love, inspiration, help and instruction have enabled me to become a musician.
Honey Chile Jump
Sam Burckhardt – tenor sax; Doug Angelaccio – alto sax; Eddie McKinley – baritone sax; Chuck Parrish – trumpet; Dan Sniderman – trombone; Dan Peters – guitar; Brian O’Hern – piano; Matt Ferguson – bass; Bob Carter – drums
Recorded June 28, 1999, at ACME Recording, Chicago, by John Poston
Between Midnight and Day
E &amp;amp;amp; A Blues
Sam Burckhardt – tenor sax; Steve Freund – guitar; Christian Rannenberg – piano; Bob Stroger – bass guitar; Willie “Big Eye” Smith – drums
Recorded June 7, 1999, at ACME Recording, Chicago, by John Poston
Rabbit Riff Blues
I Will See You
The Lowest Minor Blues
In Case You Did Not Know It
Sam Burckhardt – tenor sax; Dan Peters – guitar; Dan Trudell – Hammond B3 organ; Bob Carter – drums
Ron Dewar – tenor sax, on “Rabbit Riff Blues,” who plays the second tenor sax solo
Doug Angelaccio – alto sax, on “I Will See You”
Recorded July 13, 1999, at Riverside Studio – Delmark Records, Chicago, by Steve Wagner
Four Kinds of Freedom
Sam Burckhardt – tenor sax; Dan Peters – guitar; Brian O’Hern – piano; Matt Ferguson – bass; Bob Carter – drums
Eddie McKinley – baritone sax, on “Monk’s Hat”
Recorded June 28, 1999, at ACME Studio, Chicago, by John Poston
Changes and Chances
Sam Burckhardt – tenor sax; Brian O’Hern – piano (Brian recorded a second piano track over the first)
Recorded June 28, 1999, at ACME Studio, Chicago, by John Poston
All songs written and arranged by Samuel B. Burckhardt; Burckhardt Publishing, BMI
Produced by Samuel B. Burckhardt
Copyright: © ® 1999
50mb .zip file
1. Chicago Swing
3. Archie s Delight
5. Honey Chile Jump
6. Indigo Bunting
7. Happy Reunion
8. Rabbit Riff Blues
9. I Will See You
10. The Lowest Minor Blues
11. In Case You Did Not Know It
12. Four Kinds of Freedom
13. Monk s Hat
14. Changes and Chances
All songs written by Samuel B. Burckhardt