Richie Kamuca (July 23, 1930–July 22, 1977), was an American jazz tenor saxophonist.
Musical career [ edit ]
Kamuca was born in
Philadelphia, and, like many players associated with West Coast jazz, grew up in the East before moving West around the time that bebop changed the prevailing style of jazz. His early playing, in what is generally considered the Lester Young style, was done on tour with the big bands of Stan Kenton and Woody Herman, where he became a member of the later line-ups of Herman's Four Brothers saxophone section with Al Cohn and Bill Perkins.
Kamuca stayed on the
West Coast, playing with the smaller groups of Chet Baker, Maynard Ferguson, Shorty Rogers, and others. He was one of the Lighthouse All-Stars in 1957 and 1958, and recorded with Perkins, Art Pepper, Jimmy Rowles, Cy Touff and many others in those years, as well as leading recording sessions in his own right.
Kamuca was a member of the group
Shelly Manne and His Men from 1959 through 1962, when he returned East and settled in New York. Here he worked with Gerry Mulligan, Gary McFarland, and Roy Eldridge before returning to the West Coast in 1972, where he recorded in the studios and performed with local groups.
Less well known to the general public than saxophonists, like
Stan Getz, who played in a similar Lester Young-derived style, Kamuca died of cancer, in Los Angeles, just before his 47th birthday.
Selected discography [ edit ]
The Brothers (1955) (With Al Cohn and Bill Perkins.)
Cy Touff and Richie Kamuca, Primitive Cats (1955) Bill Perkins,
Tenors Head-on (1956) (With Kamuca.)
Maynard Ferguson, Live at Peacock Lane 1956-1957 (Live in Los Angeles, with Kamuca in the band.)
Richie Kamuca Quartet (1957)
West Coast Jazz in Hi-Fi (1959) (With Bill Holman, Conte Candoli and Frank Rosolino.)
Shorty Rogers, Swingin' Nutcracker (1960) (Along with Holman, Perkins and Art Pepper, Kamuca was part of the saxophone section on Rogers' big-band jazz version of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite.)
Shelly Manne, Shelly Manne & His Men at The Manne Hole (1961) (Recorded live at Shelly's Manne-Hole, with Kamuca on tenor saxophone throughout.)
With Chet Baker and Bud Shank
With Gary McFarland
With the Modern Jazz Quartet