Joe Maini

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Joe Maini (February 8, 1930, Providence, Rhode Island[1] - May 7, 1964, Los Angeles) was an American jazz alto saxophonist.

Early in his career Maini played in the big bands of Alvino Rey, Johnny Bothwell, and Claude Thornhill (1951). In the early 1950s he moved to Los Angeles, where he found work as a session musician and continued working in big bands, usually holding the lead alto chair. Some of the leaders he worked with were Terry Gibbs, Onzy Matthews, Gerald Wilson, Bill Holman, Louis Bellson, Dan Terry, and Shelly Manne. He recorded in small group settings with Clifford Brown and Max Roach (1954), Zoot Sims (1956), Jack Sheldon, Red Mitchell, Lin Halliday, Kenny Drew, and Jimmy Knepper.[1] He also worked with his close friend, comedian Lenny Bruce.

Maini died at age 34 in Los Angeles. Historians and reference works usually state that Maini died playing Russian roulette,[1][2] though his family and several witnesses contend that the death was the result of a firearms accident.[3]

Forty-four years after Maini's death, Lone Hill Jazz issued a four-CD set with many of his small group recordings.[4]


As leader

  • The Small Group Recordings (Lone Hill Jazz, 2008)

With Louis Bellson

With Clifford Brown

With Johnny Mandel

With Shelly Manne

With Kenny Drew

With Red Mitchell

  • Red Mitchell (Bethlehem, 1955)

With Jack Montrose

With Terry Gibbs

  • More Vibes on Velvet (Mercury, 1958)
  • Launching a New Band (Mercury, 1959)
  • Swing is Here (Verve, 1959)
  • The Exciting Terry Gibbs Big Band (Verve, 1961) reissued as Dream Band Vol. 4, Main Stem (Contemporary, 1990)
  • Explosion! (Mercury, 1961) reissued as Dream Band Vol. 5, The Big Cat (Contemporary, 1991)
  • Dream Band (Contemporary - rec. 1959, released 1986)
  • Dream Band, Vol. 2 (Contemporary - rec. 1959, released 1987)
  • Dream Band, Vol. 3, Flying Home (Contemporary - rec. 1959, released 1988)
  • Dream Band. Vol. 6, One More Time (Contemporary - rec. 1959, released 2002)

With Bill Holman

  • Bill Holman's Great Big Band (Capitol, 1962)

With Louis Bellson

  • Small Band Sessions (Fresh Sound, 1962)
  • Big Band Jazz From the Summit (Fresh Sound, 1962)


  1. ^ a b c Scott Yanow, Joe Maini at Allmusic
  2. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 134. CN 5585. 
  3. ^ Tina Maini, The Truth About Joe Maini's Death.
  4. ^ Joe Maini discography at AllMusic