Born: August 31, 1933 | Died: April 14, 2007 Primary Instrument: Saxophone
Herman Riley, Jr. was born in New Orleans, and began to study music while still in grammar school. He majored in music in high school, and went on to Southern University to further his education. His primary instrument was the tenor sax, but Herman became proficient on many more, including the oboe and English horn. While in college, he was drafted into the U.S. Army. After his discharge he continued on with his musical career, moving to Los Angeles in 1964. He became a much sought-after studio musician, and played on many TV shows and movie soundtracks during his long career. Herman toured Japan with Quincy Jones and played many festivals all over the globe, including the Monterey, Idyllwild, Concord, and New Orleans Heritage Jazz Festivals here at home. The list of musicians and singers with whom he shared the spotlight is long and varied - Shelly Manne, Jimmy & Jeannie Cheatham, Dolo Coker, Bobby Bryant, Benny Carter, Count Basie, Louie Bellson, Ray Charles, Lionel Hampton, Joe Williams, Phil Upchurch, Duke Pearson, Diana Ross & the Supremes, Ray Brown, Nancy Sinatra, Roy Milton, The Temptations and many more. During the last two decades of his life, he played all over the world and recorded with Jimmy Smith. He was a very modest, unassuming and warmhearted man - an excellent technician on his instruments who did not receive the recognition he so deserved.