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Don Menza

Don Menza is a robust tenor saxophonist who, although in a position to effectively imitate a lot of the best stylists (from Coleman Hawkins to John Coltrane), includes a distinctive audio of his very own. Menza began playing tenor when he was 13. After getting away from the Military, he was with Maynard Ferguson’s Orchestra (1960-1962) as both a soloist and an arranger. A brief stint with Stan Kenton along with a season leading a quintet in Buffalo preceded an interval surviving in Germany (1964-1968). After time for the U.S., he was with Pal Rich’s big music group in 1968, saving a famous single on “Route One Suite” that used circular respiration and was quite traditional. He resolved in California and spent some time working with Elvin Jones (1969), Louie Bellson, as an educator, and in the studios. Don Menza, that has made much too few information, recorded being a head for Saba (1965) in Germany, Discwasher (1979), Realtime, and Palo Alto (the last mentioned two in 1981).

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