Sam Hankins
Gig Seeker Pro

Sam Hankins

Olympia Fields, IL | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | AFM

Olympia Fields, IL | AFM
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Jazz Instrumental




"Do That Thang Cd Review"

Sam Hankins’ brand new CD “Do That Thang” will take you on a musical journey never experienced before. It transcends genres from the sweet ballad sounds of “There For You” that will keep you dreaming about that special someone to the edgy, hip hop, rap sounds of the title track “Do That Thing”that will keep your feet stomping. Hankins cleverly weaves a blend of different, very talented artists together on this CD from tenor sax, piano, drum, keyboards & bass to vocals. He allows each artist to explore and bring their own creativity to this project. Hankins’s distinct & rich trumpet and flugelhorn sounds bring an excitement and fulfillment like no other. So sit back and enjoy the invigorating smooth jazz experience of “Do That Thang” - Carol Hankins

"Nothing Between Us Cd Reviews"

“If there is any drawback to being a successful and busy school bandleader and sideman, it’s not having enough time to let the simmering inner artist out. Though these other demands and commitments ensured that Sam Hankins would take a while to find his voice as a solo artist, the good news is that he’s drawing on a lot of diverse life and musical experiences as he emerges as a visionary trumpeter and composer. One of the most dynamic and powerful indie breakout releases of the year, Nothing Between Us keeps Hankins’ dazzling, inventive and super melodic trumpet front and center while the grooves and textures takes the listener in a whirlwind back to the ultra cool 70s and 80s via retro textures and back into the cutting edge of the present day. Although making a solo album was on Hankins’ bucket list for a long time, he guarantees that it’s more than just a brilliant one off; rather, it’s the start of a new phase of his career at center stage that we can all enjoy and groove along to. A truly remarkable album from an artist of seemingly unlimited imagination!” – Jonathan Widran

“Sam Hankins is a brilliant trumpeter who stretches himself within the genre of smooth jazz. His tone sometimes hints at Chuck Mangione while his solos are generally more explorative than that of Chris Botti and Rick Braun, even when he caresses melodies. On his latest CD, Nothing Between Us, Hankins plays all of the instruments in most cases, including several brass instruments, keyboards and percussion, taking an effective vocal on the love song “I Can Be.” Throughout the project, Hankins displays the influences of R&B and funky jazz. He has a knack for coming up with memorable and catchy riffs and, like the late Grover Washington Jr, he is capable of playing lengthy solos over fairly simple backgrounds that never lose one’s interest. His ten originals each have their moments. “Nothing Between Us” features some powerful trumpet playing. “See Me” finds Hankins playing muted a la Miles Davis while the ensembles build in density and intensity. One can imagine the rhythmic piece “Reach For Me” being sung someday. “Give It A Try” and “You Should Have” in particularly features Sam Hankins at his best, showing a lot of personality, color and wit in his solos while carving out his own place in contemporary jazz. — Scott Yanow, author of The Jazz Singers, The Great Jazz Guitarists, Jazz On Film and Jazz On Record 1917-76 - Jonathan Widran & Scott Yanow, author of The Jazz Singers, The Great Jazz Guitarists, Jazz On Film and Jazz On Record 1917-76


Still working on that hot first release.



Sam Hankins was born in Oklahoma City & moved to Illinois in the early 90's. Stationed at Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul, IL, he played in the Chanute Air Force Jazz Band. After completing 4 ½ years in the service, he went on to complete his 2nd undergraduate degree & the Master of Music Education Program at the University of Illinois in Urbana/Champaign,  IL.

Hankins started his teaching career in 1995 at Edison Middle School where he taught for 11 years before receiving an offer to teach in Bermuda. He taught at Berkley High School for 2 years & returned to the US to teach in Salem, Oregon, at McKay High School for 2 years. He moved back to Chicago, IL in 2010 and it was during this time (while teaching band part time) that he decided to pursue his other passion of composing, writing and arranging music.

Hankins is currently the Band Director at Rich East High School as well as an Adjunct Professor at South Suburban College, teaching Jazz Improvisation and the Director of the Jazz Ensemble& Jazz Orchestra, as well as teaching private applied trumpet.

He released his first CD in 2011 titled “Dream Cather” which received great reviews. In 2012 he released his second CD titled “Nothing Between Us” which won numerous awards listed below. It also reached #1 on the KJAZZ Top 10 radio count down in Europe.In 2015, he released his third CD, which is a collaboration CD with David McLorren, (a Christmas CD) called “Joyous Celebration”.

In 2016, he released his fourth CD called “Do That Thang” which received numerous Indie Music awards. It also reached the first stage of the Grammy competition.

Hankins has been a professional trumpet player for over 45 years & have played and toured with artists such as Al Jarreau, Aretha Franklin, The Ojays, The Chi-Lites, Michael Manson, the Glenn Miller Big Band & Clark Terry. He has taught and conducted small groups, large groups and still conducting as a big band leader.

About the music

Hankins draws urban jazz fans into the pocket from the get go, playing a lighthearted trumpet melody over an infectious funk groove and soaring symphonic old school R&B textures on the opening title track. His dreamy and soulful melody on “We Come Together” is backed by cool ambience and easy rolling percussion; the tune features a hypnotic horn hook and tradeoff sections between the trumpet and saxophone. Hankins’ Earth, Wind & Fire influence is front and center on the high energy “See Me”, who’s bright brassy horns accent and provide a dynamic foundation for a playful lead trumpet melody all over a cutting edge funk groove. The trumpeter chills out and takes the tempo down a few notches on the sweet and romantic “I Can Be”, a vocal ballad sung by his brother Marcellus Hankins. The groove kicks back up only slightly on the sensual, light funk driven “Soft Touch,” whose 70s styled soul textures give way to a more 80s styled synth jam energy on the bass driven “Reach For Me”; the track features a playful interaction between Hankins’ dancing trumpet melody and the synthesized grooves. He ventures into brassy gospel territory (complete with textured vocals) on the jangling funk explosion “Give It A Try” before moving into more hypnotic, lyrical territory on the easygoing, crunch groove driven “Where Am I.” Some infectious wah-wah guitar and old school synth bounce adds flavor to the horn-splashed funk of “You Should Have”. Hankins moves from old school to contemporary hip-hop on the final track “Get Back Step Back”, whose dramatic orchestral intro gives way to bouncy hip-hop with street signs and a spirited anthem-like rap.

Indie Music Channel Award Winner 2016 (Grammy Museum, LA):

1)    Best Live Jazz Performance for “Midnight Sun” with Al Jarreau

2)    Best Male World Music Artist for “Slide A Song”

3)    Best Jazz Song for “Dream Catcher”

4)    Best R&B Recording for “Do That Thang”

5)    Best Instrumental Artist for “I Feel A Good Vibe”

Indie Music Channel Award Winner 2015:

1)    Best Male Jazz Artist for “Are You Serious”

2)    Best Jazz Song for “I Need Your Love”

3)    Best R&B Recording for “See Me”

Indie Music Channel Award Winner for “Best Jazz Songwriter of the Year” - November 23rd, 2014

International Music & Entertainment Association’s (IMEA) Award Winner for “Best Jazz Artist of the Year – October 04th, 2014”

Band Members