Born: April 22, 1936 Primary Instrument: Saxophone
Don Menza is a powerful tenor saxophonist who, although able to effectively imitate most of the top stylists (from Coleman Hawkins to John Coltrane), has a distinctive sound of his own. Menza started playing tenor when he was 13. After getting out of the Army, he was with Maynard Ferguson's Orchestra (1960-1962) as both a soloist and an arranger.
A short stint with Stan Kenton and a year leading a quintet in Buffalo preceded a period living in Germany (1964-1968). After returning to the U.S., he was with Buddy Rich's big band in 1968, recording a famous solo on Channel One Suite that utilized circular breathing and was quite classic.
He settled in California and has worked with Elvin Jones (1969), Louie Bellson, as an educator, and in the studios. Don Menza, who has made far too few records, recorded as a leader for Saba (1965) in Germany, Discwasher (1979), Realtime, and Palo Alto (the latter two in 1981). Long time member of The Tonight Show Band, with Johnny Carson.
Don Menza - Very Live At Groovy
1. Night in Tunisia (9:59)
(Dizzy Gillespie - Frank Paparelli) Universal/Mca Music Scand ab.
2. My One and Only Love (8:33)
(Wood - Mellin) World Music/Succesmelodier
3. Hip Pocket (11:17)
(Frank Strazzeri) Strazzeri Music
4. If We Were in Love (9:39)
(John Williams) EMI Songs Scandinavia ab.
5. Body and Soul (6:53)
(John Green) Warner Chappell Music Scandinavia ab.
6. El Capitano (10:41)
(Don Menza) Rodon Music
7. Dexterity (9:07)
(Charlie Parker) Universal/Mca Music Scand ab.
8. Trane's Blues (12:28)
(John Coltrane) Prestige Music ltd.
Personnel: Don Menza • tenorsax, Markku Johansson • trumpet & fluegelhorn, Esko Linnavalli • piano, Jesper Lundgaardt • bass, Esko Rosnell • drums
All tracks recorded live in Helsinki, Finland at the restaurant Groove February 14th 1983 by Robi de Godzinsky
20 page booklet in Finnish and in English. Photos from the live session.
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