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    Sommer, Todd

    Percussionist whose career has spanned five decades and includes a staggering amount of session work in nearly every musical genre. 


    Todd’s first instrument was not the drum, however:  It was the violin.  He was part of a band in the Catskills while still a child, and eventually attended the Manhattan School of Music. 


    In 1946, he joined Ina Ray Hutton’s band.  In the early ‘50s, he was part of the house band at the Hotel Sherman in Chicago, Illinois.  Then he hooked up with Les Elgart for a few years of erratically scheduled one-night-only performances.  Teaming up with Neil Hefti in the mid-1950s offered a little more stability, although the pair was constantly at the beck and call of the studios, performing on television soundtracks and albums for seemingly everyone who was anyone. 


    Some of the artists and groups Todd has recorded with include Manny Albam, Tony Bennett, Ray Charles, John Denver, Bill Evans, Fat City, Lionel Hampton, Jim & Jean, Ben E. King, Barbara Lewis, Guy Mitchell, Tito Puente, Marty Robbins, Neil Sedaka, Frank Sinatra, Bob Thiele, Sarah Vaughan, and Art Webb.  One of his most famous recordings is Wilson Pickett’s “In the Midnight Hour”. 


    He also appears on several anthologies:  Atlantic Rhythm and Blues 1947-1974, The Beat Generation, LRC Jazz Legacy Anthology:  Everyday I Have the Blues, and Vanguard Collector’s Edition.  Todd can also be heard on the soundtracks of the Woody Allen films Bullets over Broadway, Everyone Says I Love You, Mighty Aphrodite, and Sweet and Lowdown.


    Frank Sinatra recordings

    That's What God Looks Like To Me (Stan Irvin/Lan O'Kun)

    Reprise RPS 49233 (XNY2101S) (US 45)


    Theme from "New York, New York" (Fred Ebb/John Kander)

    Reprise RPS49233 (XNY 2103 S) (US 45)



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