Sam Ulano

Solomon Paul “Sam” Ulano (August 12, 1920 – January 1, 2014) was an American jazz drummer and educator. He is often called by the nickname “Mr. Rhythm.”

Sam didn’t do well in school until he discovered music, particularly the drums. Along with playing drums at age 13, he started teaching kids in high school and opened his first drum studio four years later.

Drafted into the army during World War II, his playing ability earned him a job playing at the officer’s club and for traveling GI shows with Bob Hope and many celebrities. He perfected a stand-up comedy routine to open for them.

After the war, he revived his drum teaching and prolific writing which continued throughout his career. He created the drum community and nurtured it, becoming the clubby-knit group we know today. He created a publication with all the latest news about rhythms and new beats, and announced get-togethers at his studio, bringing together symphonic, jazz, rock musicians and musicians of color and gender; everyone was welcome. Advertisement

He wrote over 3,000 instruction books for the drums and appeared on several television programs, including Tonight Starring Steve Allen. He recorded with Moondog, and was also the drummer for the English post-punk band Public Image Ltd. for their famous New York riot concert. He was a life-long native of New York City and still taught students from his hospital bed just before passing away on January 1, 2014.