Don Menza

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Don Menza
Don Menza UP.jpg
Don Menza at a concert in Germany, 2010
Background information
Born (1936-04-22) April 22, 1936 (age 83)
Buffalo, New York, U.S.
GenresJazz, big band, jazz fusion
Occupation(s)Musician, bandleader
Years active1950s–present
LabelsSackville, Palo Alto
Associated actsMaynard Ferguson, Buddy Rich

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

Music career[edit]

Menza was born and raised in Buffalo, New York, where he began playing tenor saxophone when he was 13. He studied with musician John Sedola.

After serving in the U.S. Army, he was part of the Maynard Ferguson Orchestra from 1960–1962 and then briefly worked for Stan Kenton recording on the Adventures in Time LP. From 1964–1968 he lived in Germany. In the U.S., he became a member of the Buddy Rich band in 1968 and recorded a well-known solo with that band at a live performance in Las Vegas. He lived in California and played with Elvin Jones and Louie Bellson.[1]

Menza composed "Groovin' Hard" and "Time Check", which became favorites of Doc Severinsen and Buddy Rich.[citation needed] In 2005 Menza was inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame.[2]

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


  • 1966 Morning Song (MPS)
  • 1977 First Flight (P-Vine)
  • 1977 Bones Blues (Sackville)
  • 1979 Horn of Plenty
  • 1981 Burnin' (RealTime)
  • 1981 Hip Pocket (Palo Alto)
  • 1991 Live at Claudio's (Sackville)
  • 1992 Series 20 Exitos: La Tariacuri (BMG)
  • 2005 Menza Lines (Jazzed Media)
  • 2006 Voyage (SWR/Hänssler Classic)[3]
  • 2017 Sonny Daze (Alessa Records)

With Louis Bellson

With Kenny Burrell

With Maynard Ferguson


  1. ^ a b Yanow, Scott. "Don Menza". AllMusic. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  2. ^ "Don Menza BMHOF Class of 2005". Buffalo Music Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on April 6, 2012. Retrieved January 26, 2013.
  3. ^ "Don Menza | Album Discography | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 21 October 2016.

External links[edit]