Richie Cannata

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Richie Cannata
Richie Cannata.jpg
Background information
Born (1949-03-03) March 3, 1949 (age 68)[1][2]
Origin Long Island, New York
Genres Pop, pop rock, rock
Occupation(s) musician
Instruments Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet, Keyboards
Associated acts Billy Joel
The Beach Boys
Celine Dion
Jennifer Lopez
Marc Anthony
Al Jardine
Tommy Shaw
The Lords of 52nd Street

Richie Cannata (born March 3, 1949) is an American music producer, multi-instrumentalist and studio owner. He is most notable for playing saxophone in Billy Joel's band alongside Liberty DeVitto, Russell Javors, and Doug Stegmeyer. After leaving the band in 1981[3], he opened Cove City Sound Studios in Glen Cove, New York. Artists including Celine Dion, Billy Joel, Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony have recorded in Cannata's studio.

Early life[edit]

Richie Cannata was born in Brooklyn, New York. Even though his parents, Ernest and Anna, didn't have any musical background, Richie got interested in music at a very early age. At four he started studying classical piano. From the piano, he went to the clarinet, and then, at the age of eight, he took up the tenor saxophone.[4][5] He also plays clarinet, flute and keyboards in addition to alto, soprano and baritone sax.[6]

In 1950s his family moved to Garden City South where Richie blossomed as a musician.[7] He played in school bands and with local musicians, perfecting his skills as a live performer and studio musician.


In 1975 Cannata was introduced to Billy Joel's bass player Doug Stegmeyer through Doug's brother Al. At the time Billy Joel was looking for a sax player and Richie got a gig in the band.

Cannata played in Tommy Shaw's band in the mid-1980s, performing on Shaw's first three solo albums.[8] He also played for Taylor Dayne in the late 1980s/early 1990s, and was a saxophonist with Bernie Williams.[9]

In the mid-1990s Cannata toured with The Beach Boys, playing saxophone, woodwinds and synthesizers. In 2006, Cannata toured again with Joel, and was part of his record-setting 12-show run at Madison Square Garden.

Over the years Cannata's performing style has been influenced by John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Gene Ammons, and King Curtis.[10]

In December 2013 Cannata and Sean J. Kennedy's educational jazz improv play-along series Improvising and Soloing In The Pocket [Book/CD/DVD) was released by Carl Fischer Music to critical acclaim. The series includes books for all instruments, and features music from Cannata's 2011 solo album Richie Cannata,[11] featuring Cannata and Julio Fernandez, guitarist of jazz fusion/smooth jazz group Spyro Gyra.[12]

On October 23, 2014, Cannata, DeVitto, and Javors (with Stegmeyer, posthumously) were inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame, primarily for their work with Joel.[13][14] Shortly thereafter, Cannata, DeVitto, and Javors officially formed The Lords of 52nd Street band; the band also includes a pianist and lead vocalist, keyboardist, and a guitarist, and plays faithful renditions of the recorded Joel originals.[15]

On July 11, 2016, Cannata received special recognition from Glen Cove Mayor for his contributions to the City’s music heritage. He was presented with the key to Glen Cove and named the downtown intersection of Bridge, School and Glen Streets as “Richie Cannata Place” for the City’s summer music season.[16]

See also[edit]

Billy Joel album credits[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Cannata's birthday celebration". 
  2. ^ "Richie Cannata". 
  3. ^ Kreps, Daniel. "Clive Davis, Billy Joel's Band Among Long Island Music Hall of Fame Inductees". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 26 March 2017. 
  4. ^ Bentley, Mary. "On the Side - Richie Cannata". SmoothViews. Retrieved 26 March 2017. 
  5. ^ "Long Island Music Hall of Fame Inductees - Richie Cannata". Long Island Music Hall of Fame. Retrieved 26 March 2017. 
  6. ^ "Richie Cannata". Cove City Sound Studios. Retrieved 26 March 2017. 
  7. ^ "Long Island Music Hall of Fame Inductees - Richie Cannata". Long Island Music Hall of Fame. Retrieved 26 March 2017. 
  8. ^ McCormick, Moira (3 November 1984). "Shaw Sticks to 'Guns' - Solo Project for Styx Guitarist". Billboard. 96 (44): 57. Retrieved 26 March 2017. 
  9. ^ Williams, Bernie (2011). Rhythms of the Game: The Link Between Musical and Athletic Performance. Hal Leonard Books. Retrieved 26 March 2017. 
  10. ^ Bentley, Mary. "On the Side - Richie Cannata". SmoothViews. Retrieved 26 March 2017. 
  11. ^ "Richie Cannata - Richie Cannata - Songs, Reviews, Credits - AllMusic". 
  12. ^ "Improvising And Soloing In The Pocket - Book Review". 
  13. ^ Gamboa, Glenn (23 October 2014). "Billy Joel Band set to join Piano Man in Long Island Music Hall of Fame". New York Newsday. Retrieved April 1, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Long Island Music Hall of Fame induction 2014". 29 October 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2017. 
  15. ^ Filipski, Kevin (February 5, 2016). "Interview with Guitarist Russell Javors". Retrieved July 14, 2016. 
  16. ^ "12 Jul Mayor Spinello Recognizes Musician Richie Cannata with Honorary Street Dedication". City of Glen Cove. 12 July 2016. Retrieved 26 March 2017.