Leroy “Sam” Parkins, clarinetist, raconteur, and enthusiastic friend of this blog, died in Israel on November 18, 2009: he was 83. 

Sam loved beautiful photographs, so I offer this sunset, taken from a window on the Upper West Side, in his memory.

I am an unabashed jazz matchmaker: I tried to get Whitney Balliett to hear Kevin Dorn, but Whitney died before it could happen.  But I succeeded in getting Sam to jam with the Cangelosi Cards — only once, alas — but I captured a set with my Flip video camera. 

That was February 2, 2009, at Banjo Jim’s — and Sam had a wonderful time amidst Tamar Korn, Jake Sanders, Dennis Lichtman, Karl Meyer, Marcus Milius, Gordon Webster, and Cassidy Holden. 

Thank you, Sam, and farewell —

9 responses to “SUNSET: LEROY “SAM” PARKINS


  2. Thanks for sharing the news about Sam’s passing. I will miss him.

  3. Bill Gallagher

    I always enjoyed Sam’s banter and his jazz anecdotes. Correctly or not, I felt that Sam had a good life. It was nice to cross paths with him.

  4. Sadako Shinohara

    Thank you for recording this video. Sam played marvelous. Sam & Camilla are always in my bottom of heart.

  5. Kristin Bertrand

    Thank you for this memorial. Sam, you were a dear friend and an inspiration to me. I hope there’s plenty of smokin’ horns wherever you are.

  6. I just tried to send Leroy a good wishes email for the coming year. It was returned. I found this sad news when I looked him up on Google.
    He and I knew each other in Boston and the Cape starting in 1951. We played together off and on in friendly rivalry until about 1959 when I left the area to go the the University of Pa. We lost touch until a mutual friend and guitar player, Dawes Thompson, brought us together and renewed our old friendship. The reunion was at the Jazz sessions which are held in the New York Library branch near the MOMA. I am broken hearted by this news and so glad I had a chance to reconnect with my dear friend. I am enclosing a picture taken of the two us at the Southward Inn at Orleans Mass in 1955.
    Hamilton ‘Ham’ Carson

  7. Dear Mr. Carson,

    Happy to make your acquaintance — even under such sad circumstances — as I’ve admired your playing on the trio sessions with Jim Goodwin and Ray Skjelbred (the poker-playing dogs on the cover of the lp) and more recently on the Arceola 2-CD set with Jim and Mickey Martin. I hope you’ll come back to read more. Cheers and thanks, Michael Steinman

  8. Virginia Kelley

    Sad news and a coincidence too – I was looking around online today for info about someone who’d been a professor and, later, employer of mine a long time ago, Camilla Kemple, and then I looked around for news of her husband too, who was Sam — I knew him too as there was a time I was in their home a lot. As it happens I’ve seen the Candelosi Cards play many times, mostly through my friendship with Lynn Loflin, a huge fan and owner of The Miracle Grill in NY (no longer open, another sad thing).
    Nice to think of your coming together to the pleasure of all.

  9. I was trying to tell a friend why Sam and I almost never saw beautiful sunset skies when we lived in East Orleans, Mass (and when Ham Carson played with the band). They always had to go to work when those colors were filling the sky above the beach. Then I tried to look up Leroy (Sam) Parkins at the Southward Inn and was happy to find this blog. Sam always seems very much in the air in this period between his September birth and his November death. I am going to forward this immediately to my friend who took in two of Sam’s cats. She said they always perked up and came into the room to listen when they heard certain music. One is left, Little Sue. We’ll see if she responds. Many thanks for music and spirit of this blog. And the Miracle Grill was a great place and is also missed.
    (The closest I have to a web site is, a painter whose letters I am making into a book) Alta Ann Parkins Morris, 4 October 2013

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s