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Remembering Sammy Murgo: A Jazz Icon's Enduring Legacy

Born on August 13, 1936, in Floriana, Murgo's musical journey began at the age of six when he started studying music theory and violin under the guidance of his father, Rosario, himself a skilled violinist. Despite his father's untimely death two years later, Murgo's musical education continued under Mro Agostino Camilleri. By the age of thirteen, Murgo showcased his talent at the Christmas Midnight Mass in Zebbug Parish Church, marking the beginning of his illustrious career.

In his youth, Murgo's interest in jazz blossomed after being exposed to the works of renowned jazz violinists Stephan Crapetti and Joe Venuti. Living in Floriana, a vibrant hub of live music, Murgo frequented local bars, honing his skills alongside various pianists and drummers. Alongside his cousin Sammy Galea, Murgo began his musical journey at the Klondyke, owned by their uncle Minco, where Galea proposed Murgo transition from the violin to the saxophone. It was not until he encountered Robert Juice Wilson, an American jazz musician residing in Malta, that Murgo made the leap to the saxophone.

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Murgo's talent flourished as he performed at renowned venues such as the Kenner Club in Valletta and the Caffè Premier, collaborating with esteemed bandmasters and musicians. His versatility and dedication to jazz led to collaborations with prominent musicians like Charles City Gatt and Edward Briffa. Murgo's contributions to the local jazz scene were further amplified through television appearances and collaborations with renowned composers such as Charles Camilleri.

Despite facing health challenges, including heart surgery in 1998, Murgo's passion for music never waned. In 1999, he performed alongside his cousin Dominic Galea in an open-air concert at the Royal Opera House in Valletta and continued to participate in the local annual Jazz Festival. Murgo's commitment to music culminated in a memorable tribute concert in 2016, celebrating his 80th birthday at the St James Cavalier Centre for Creativity.

Following his passing, tributes poured in from fellow musicians and officials, underscoring Murgo's enduring legacy and profound impact on the local music community. Culture Minister Owen Bonnici expressed sorrow at his death, highlighting Murgo's extraordinary talent and influence on aspiring musicians. Other tributes came from prominent figures such as musician and songwriter Kevin Borg, Paul Giordimaina, Carlo Muscat, and Mike Spiteri, among others.In conclusion, Sammy Murgo's life was a testament to his unwavering passion for jazz and his dedication to nurturing emerging talent in Malta's music scene. His legacy will continue to inspire generations of musicians, and he will be dearly missed by his family, friends, and the entire music community. extends heartfelt condolences to his loved ones during this difficult time.

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