Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Remembering Sam Meier

A long-time friend of WMUB, Richmond's Sam Meier, passed away on January 6th in a hospice in Santa Monica, California at age 80. Sam was host of "Sam's Place" on WMUB for many years, drawing on his amazing knowledge of early jazz history on the show.

At age 14 Sam began work for Richmond's Starr Piano company. Starr's sister company Gennett Records is where legends like Bix Beiderbecke, Sidney Bechet, Jelly Roll Morton, Hoagy Carmichael and Louis Armstrong made some of the very first jazz recordings. In recent years Sam produced three volumes of Gennett Records' "Greatest Hits" CDs that preserve priceless recordings of these early pioneers. He was a tireless promoter of them on his show and on frequent guest appearances on the Mama Jazz show.

Sam was also a "script doctor" in Hollywood, punching up comic scenes in films and in shows as diverse as the original Smothers Brothers show on CBS (working with his longtime friend Steve Martin) to "Everybody Loves Raymond" in recent years. See Barry Levinson's 1994 film "Jimmy Hollywood" for a scene inspired by Mama Jazz as a truculent customer in a diner.

I'll always remember Sam both for his profound love of early jazz and his inexhaustible sense of wry humor at the comedy of life. He will be greatly missed.

-- Cleve Callison, General Manager
(see the Palladium-Item obituary of 1/9/08)


At 8:51 AM, Blogger Bob Jacobsen said...

Sam was a great friend of Richmond and Starr-Gennett. His humor, hard work and zest for life were his enduring qualities. The Walk of Fame in Richmond and the Gennett CD's are part of his legacy. He was the man who kept the music alive.

At 1:37 PM, Blogger JT Evans said...

I had the good luck to meet Sam forty years ago, lost touch with him, and just today learned of his radio show. How I wish I'd been in contact with him all those years. I appreciated the humor from the first but I never really knew what truth and depth the man had, as I learned in watching a televised interview with him and heard from others who have known him. Sam was a treasure while we had him and a great loss for us now that he has gone.


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