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Curtis Amy

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Curtis Amy
Birth nameCurtis Edward Amy
Born(1927-10-11)October 11, 1927
Houston, Texas, U.S.
DiedJune 5, 2002(2002-06-05) (aged 74)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active1950s–1970s
LabelsPacific Jazz, Verve

Curtis Edward Amy (October 11, 1927 – June 5, 2002) was an American jazz saxophonist.[1][2]


Amy was born in Houston, Texas, United States.[3] He learned how to play clarinet before joining the Army, and during his time in service, picked up the tenor saxophone.[3] After his discharge, he attended and graduated from Kentucky State College.[3] He worked as an educator in Tennessee while playing in midwestern jazz clubs.[3] In the mid-1950s, he relocated to Los Angeles and later signed with Pacific Jazz Records, often playing with organist Paul Bryant. In the mid-1960s, he spent three years as musical director of Ray Charles' orchestra, together with his wife, Merry Clayton, and Steve Huffsteter.[4]

As well as leading his own bands and recording albums under his own name, Amy did session work and played the solos on several recordings, including The Doors song "Touch Me", Carole King's Tapestry, and Lou Rawls' first albums, Black and Blue and Tobacco Road, coinciding with Dexter Gordon in the Onzy Matthews big band,[3][4] as well as working with Marvin Gaye, Tammi Terrell and Smokey Robinson.[4]

Up until his death, he was married to singer and recording artist Merry Clayton.[4] Their son, Kevin Amy has also pursued a musical career.[5]

Carole King's song "Jazzman", from her 1974 album Wrap Around Joy, was inspired by her experience working with Amy on the Tapestry album.


As leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]

With The Doors

With Dizzy Gillespie

With Carole King

With Lou Rawls

  • Black and Blue (Capitol, 1963)
  • Tobacco Road (Capitol, 1963)

With Gerald Wilson


  1. ^ Cook, Richard (2005). Richard Cook's Jazz Encyclopedia. London: Penguin Books. p. 13. ISBN 0-141-00646-3.
  2. ^ "Curtis Edward Amy (1927-2002) - Find a Grave Memorial". Find a Grave. Retrieved June 24, 2024.
  3. ^ a b c d e Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 80. ISBN 0-85112-939-0.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Amy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2009-07-17.
  5. ^ "Merry Clayton, co-star of Oscar-winning '20 Feet from Stardom,' soars on 'Beautiful Scars' after grisly crash". San Diego Union-Tribune. 2021-04-04. Retrieved 2021-09-24.

External links[edit]