Don Menza is a powerful tenor saxophonist with a dynamic and distinctive sound. Born in Buffalo in 1936, Menza started playing tenor saxophone when he was 13. After serving in the Army, he performed with Maynard Ferguson’s Orchestra (1960–1962) as a soloist and an arranger. Menza had a short tenure with Stan Kenton prior to moving to Germany in 1964. In 1968 he returned to the U.S. and joined Buddy Rich’s big band in the “jazz tenor” chair, recording the famous solo cadenza on “Channel 1 Suite” (recorded live at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas) that utilized circular breathing and is referred to as a “classic” among music educators and colleagues. Menza settled in California where he continued his craft as a performer and educator, working with Elvin Jones (1969) and Louie Bellson. Menza played a leading role in recording with Saba (1965) in Germany, Discwasher (1979), Realtime, and Palo Alto (1981). He was also a long-time member of Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show Band. His compositions such as “Groovin’ Hard” and “Time Check” (both favorites of Doc Severinsen’s NBC Orchestra and Buddy Rich’s Big Band) have become standard repertoire in jazz programs at colleges and universities worldwide. In 2005, Don Menza was inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame.
About the Series
The Buffalo News Summer Jazz Series concerts take place on the museum’s Delaware Stairs overlooking Hoyt Lake on five Sundays at 2 pm, from July 8 through August 5. Admission is free. In case of rain, performances will be held in the Albright-Knox’s Auditorium on a first-come, first-seated basis. Indoor concerts are free with museum admission (and free for Albright-Knox Members). View 2018 Series
Limited parking is available in the museum’s parking lot on Elmwood Avenue. Parking is $5 for visitors and $3 for Members. Please bring your parking ticket into the museum to have it validated at the Admissions Desk. There is also parking available on the roads surrounding the Albright-Knox. Please take care to adhere to all parking regulations. Violators will be ticketed and/or towed. View Parking Map (PDF)