Grammy nominee Sammy K began his professional career at the age of 13 in Michigan. While earning his degree in Political Science and Communications at Michigan State University and Western Michigan University, Sammy performed as a member of the multi-award winning Michigan State University Spartan Marching Band and the nationally recognized Spartan Drumline. He was selected as a member of the Disneyland All-American College Band under the direction of the legendary Art Bartner and led his own band to three consecutive best band awards in the DownBeat Magazine international competition (earning six total DownBeat awards). During his tenure as the drummer for Michigan State University’s Jazz Band I, Western Michigan University’s Jazz Orchestra, and the premiere college vocal ensemble Gold Company, Sammy received numerous solo and best band awards at festivals and competitions. Sammy then joined the United States Air Force Band of Flight where he performed in the concert, marching, jazz, and rock bands while traveling extensively across the United States.
Sammy has been active as a clinician and/or performer at the International Association of Jazz Educators Conference, Brandon Jazz Festival, Indianapolis Jazz Festival, Montreux-Detroit International Jazz Festival, Percussive Arts Society Invitational Marching Competition, North Dakota State University Jazz Festival, Notre Dame Jazz Festival, Aquinas College Jazz Festival, Spartan Invitational Marching Competition, Southwest Ohio Jazz Festival, Miami Valley Jazz Camp, Bands of America Marching Competition and the International Music Camp. He frequently works with school districts across the United States and Canada as a guest instructor for their jazz and rock bands and has served as drumline instructor for multiple award-winning high school programs. He created the “Groove Boot Camp” program of intense drum set instruction and has presented it to students and educators in the United States and Canada.
Los Angeles-based drummer Sammy K has performed and/or recorded with an impressive list of artists including Bob Hope, The Coasters, Michael Orland (American Idol), Engelbert Humperdinck, Wes Anderson, Lucy Lawless, Burt Bacharach, Levi Kreis (Tony winner), The Stars of the Lawrence Welk Show, Jon Hendricks, Dennis Tufano (The Buckinghams), Jimmy Heath, Zara (Dire Straits, Bob Geldof), The Platters, Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra, Bobby Vinton, The Nelson Riddle Orchestra, Steve Turre, The Mills Brothers, David Pomeranz, Travis Howard, Kate Miner, Dave Brubeck, The Ink Spots, The Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, and Harry Connick Sr. Grammy-winning artists Ray Bardani, Ted Perlman, and Mike Acosta have used Sammy’s grooves for their recording and live projects. Sammy has also appeared on the Emmy Award-winning “Wayne Brady Show“, “Ally McBeal” with KC and the Sunshine Band and Josh Groban, “Unsung Heroes” on CMT, and in the films “The Fast and the Furious” and “The Spaces In Between: On The Road With Amy Cook”. Additional clients include The Walt Disney Company, Ferrari, NBC, The Hal Leonard Publishing Company, Much Music Television, the Six Flags Corporation, Daimler-Chrysler, ABC, the International Toys for Tots campaign, and CBS.
In addition to his drum set career, Sammy is a Drum Circle Facilitator for both Remo Inc. and UpBeat Drum Circles. He co-created the body-based percussion game and teaching tool “Body Beat,” which is used internationally by recreational drummers and educators alike. Sammy also co-produced music used at the United Nations International Conference on Children and the soundtracks for the stage shows “The Winter Dance Party” and “Buddy, Roy & Elvis.”
Sammy proudly endorses Remo Drum Heads, Zildjian Cymbals, Yamaha Drums, Vic Firth drum sticks, Cympad cymbal pads and Kotz Cajons.