John Handy

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John Handy
John Handy 1977.JPG
Handy in 1977
Background information
Origin Dallas, Texas
Genres Jazz
Instruments Saxophone, clarinet, oboe, vocals
Years active 1953–present
Labels Roulette Records
Columbia Records
Impulse! Records
Warner Bros. Records
Milestone Records
American Music Records
Harbor Records
Koch International Records
Boulevard Records

John Richard Handy III (born February 3, 1933, in Dallas, Texas) is an American jazz musician most commonly associated with the alto saxophone, although he also plays tenor and baritone saxophone, saxello, clarinet and oboe, and sings.[1]


Handy first came to prominence while working for Charles Mingus in the 1950s. In the 1960s, Handy led several groups, among them a quintet with Michael White, violin, Jerry Hahn, guitar, Don Thompson, bass, and Terry Clarke, drums. This group's performance at the 1965 Monterey Jazz Festival was recorded and released as an album; Handy received Grammy nominations for "Spanish Lady" (jazz performance) and "If Only We Knew" (jazz composition).

Handy has also taught music history and performance at San Francisco State University, Stanford University, the University of California, Berkeley, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and other schools.

In the 1980s he worked in the project Bebop & Beyond, who recorded tribute albums to Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk.

Handy's son, John Richard Handy IV, is a drummer who has played with Handy on occasion.


As leader[edit]


  • Quote Unquote (Roulette, 1967) contains selections from In the Vernacular and No Coast Jazz

As sideman[edit]

With Brass Fever

With Charles Mingus

With Mingus Dynasty


External links[edit]