Cameron began as an alto saxophonist, but later recorded with bass clarinet, baritone saxophone, and B-flat clarinets. His career began in the early 1940s in Hollywood with Ike Carpenter's band, with whom he played until 1947. He moved to Europe near the end of the decade and played with Rex Stewart, Bill Coleman, Roy Haynes and Henri Renaud in France and Italy; in the early 1950s Cameron gigged around Belgium, Germany, and Scandinavia. In 1955 he played steadily in Paris with a band that included Bobby Jaspar, Barney Wilen and Jean-Louis Chautemps. He returned to the United States in 1956, playing in the bands of Woody Herman (1956) and Slide Hampton (1960). Other collaborations include time with Chet Baker, Dizzy Gillespie, Maynard Ferguson (1957–58), Freddie Hubbard (1958), Candido Camero, Bill Barron, André Hodeir, Hal McKusick, and Les and Larry Elgart. Among his own projects as a leader were his International Sax Band and the Third Herdsmen. In the late 1960s Cameron toured with Paul Winter. He continued to be an active musician and advocate for jazz programming and education throughout his life.
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With Bill Barron
- Modern Windows (Savoy, 1961)
With Maynard Ferguson
- A Message from Newport (Roulette, 1958)
With Slide Hampton
- Slide Hampton and His Horn of Plenty (Strand, 1959)
- Sister Salvation (Atlantic, 1960)
- Somethin' Sanctified (Atlantic, 1960)
- Jazz with a Twist (Atlantic, 1962)
- Drum Suite (Epic, 1962)
- Exodus (Philips, 1962 )
- Jay Cameron at Allmusic
- Bill Moody, The Jazz Exiles:American Musicians Abroad. Includes a chapter on Cameron.
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