RIP: Sam Butera, Saxophonist

From New Orleans' Times-Picayune (via The Daily Swarm):

Sam Butera, the hard-driving, hard-swinging New Orleans saxophonist who was Louis Prima’s longtime musical partner, died Wednesday in Las Vegas following a long illness. He was 81.

Mr. Butera joined Prima’s band in 1954. With singer Keely Smith, they built one of the most popular acts in the golden age of Las Vegas. Mr. Butera cooked up the arrangements that gave the likes of “Just a Gigolo,” “I Ain’t Got Nobody” and “Jump Jive An’ Wail” maximum impact.

“Louis’s ace-in-the-hole was Sam Butera,” said Gia Prima, the fifth of Louis’s five wives and the singer in his band from 1962 to 1975. “That animal attraction that they had, with Sam’s honking sax and Louis’s jumping and jiving—without Sam, Louis couldn’t have pulled it off.”

- Sam Butera Wikipedia entry

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