Don Menza

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Don Menza
Don Menza at a concert in Germany, 2010
Don Menza at a concert in Germany, 2010
Background information
Born (1936-04-22) April 22, 1936 (age 86)
Buffalo, New York, U.S.
GenresJazz, big band, jazz fusion
Occupation(s)Soldier, Musician, bandleader
Instrument(s)Saxophone
Years active1950s–present
LabelsSackville, Palo Alto
Websitewww.donmenza.com

Don Menza (born April 22, 1936)[1] is an American jazz saxophonist, arranger, and composer.[2]

Music career[edit]

He was born in Buffalo, New York, United States.[1] After serving in the U.S. Army, he was part of the Maynard Ferguson Orchestra from 1960 to 1962 and then briefly worked for Stan Kenton.[2] From 1964 to 1968 he lived in Germany.[2] Back in the U.S., he became a member of the Buddy Rich band in 1968 and recorded a well-known solo with that band on "Channel One Suite".[2] In the 1970s he was a member of The Tonight Show Band.[3] He later lived in California and played with Elvin Jones and Louie Bellson.[2]

In 2005 Menza was inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame.[4]

Personal life[edit]

His son Nick Menza (1964–2016) was the drummer for the heavy metal band Megadeth.[5]

Composer and arranger[edit]

Don Menza wrote two of the charts played by the Buddy Rich Band: "Time Check" and "Groovin' Hard".

Discography[edit]

As leader[edit]

  • Morning Song (SABA, 1966)
  • First Flight (Catalyst, 1977)
  • Horn of Plenty (Discwasher, 1979)
  • Burnin (M&K, 1981)
  • Hip Pocket (Palo Alto, 1982)
  • Ballads with Frank Strazzeri (Fresh Sound, 1987)
  • Live at Claudios with Pete Magadini (Sackville, 1991)
  • Bilein with Joe Haider (JHM, 1998)
  • Dream Suite (Corsaro, 2002)
  • Jack Rabbitt with John Bacon, Bobby Jones (Cadence, 2004)
  • Menza Lines (Jazzed Media, 2005)
  • Voyage with SWR Big Band (Hanssler/SWR, 2006)
  • Very Live at Groovy (Artie Music, 2008)
  • Forget the Woman (Pro Jazz, 2011)

As sideman[edit]

With Louie Bellson

  • Louie Rides Again! (Percussion Power 1974)
  • The Louis Bellson Explosion (Pablo, 1975)
  • Sunshine Rock (Pablo, 1978)
  • Note Smoking (Discwasher, 1978)
  • Matterhorn (Pablo, 1979)
  • Dynamite! (Concord Jazz, 1980)
  • Side Track (Concord Jazz, 1981)
  • Louis Bellson and Explosion (Pausa, 1984)
  • Live at Joe Segal's Jazz Showcase (Concord Jazz, 1988)
  • Hot (Musicmasters, 1988)
  • East Side Suite (Musicmasters, 1989)
  • Airmail Special (Musicmasters, 1990)
  • Jazz Giants (Musicmasters, 1990)

With Les DeMerle

  • Concerts by the Sea (Bar T, 1978)
  • Transcendental Watusi! (United National, 1979)
  • On Fire (Palo Alto, 1983)

With Neil Diamond

  • Tap Root Manuscript (UNI, 1970)
  • Beautiful Noise (Columbia, 1976)
  • In My Lifetime (Columbia, 1996)

With Maynard Ferguson

  • Straightaway Jazz Themes (Roulette, 1961)
  • Si! Si! M.F. (Roulette, 1962)
  • Maynard '62 (Roulette, 1962)
  • A Message from Maynard (Roulette, 1963)
  • The World of Maynard Ferguson (Roulette, 1964)

With others

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 1663. ISBN 0-85112-939-0.
  2. ^ a b c d e Yanow, Scott. "Don Menza". AllMusic. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  3. ^ Don Sweeney (2006). Backstage at the Tonight Show: From Johnny Carson to Jay Leno. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 120. ISBN 9781589793033.
  4. ^ "Don Menza BMHOF Class of 2005". Buffalo Music Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on April 6, 2012. Retrieved January 26, 2013.
  5. ^ Craig Sailor (January 12, 2017). "Megadeth drummer's gift to son stolen from Tacoma home". The News Tribune.

External links[edit]