The Rose

The Rose

Don Menza Quartet

Label: Challenge Records
Format: CD
Barcode: 0608917349221
Catalog number: CR 73492
Releasedate: 10-01-20
- Don Menza, 83 years of age, is still going strong
- After a couple of weeks on tour, the quartet went straight to the studio and recorded The Rose within four hours!
- Don Menza's debut on Challenge Records

April 2020
 April 3: Graz (AT), Royal Garden Jazz Club
April 7-11: Wien (AT), Jazzland
April 15: Liege (BEL), Jacques Pelzer Jazzclub
April 19: Terneuzen (NED), Porgy & Bess
April 20-22: Belgium & Netherlands
April 23: Copenhagen (DK), Jazzhus Montmartre
April 24: Stuttgart (GER), BIX
April 25: Neuburg (GER), Birdland
Dr. Kristina Nikolic:
"Even though I follow Don Menza whenever he is on tour in Europe and have witnessed the magic of his concerts countless times, never have I believed that recording an album could be such a relaxing, loving and seemingly effortless occasion. After a couple of weeks on the road, this quartet managed once again (in less than four hours) to preserve on tape what they had been doing together on the bandstand for many years: playing jazz that will touch any soul that is willing to listen. Together with Oliver Kent, Johannes Strasser and Bernd Reiter, all amazing musicians themselves, a self-confessed hopeless romantic Don Menza succeeded, with exceptional honesty, to record eight songs which reflect his beliefs. In this age of Jazz where the brain is often more important than the heart, this album stands out for its ability to break your heart, make you laugh, make you feel cool, brave, to energize and inspire you."
(from: liner notes The Rose)
Don Menza is a powerful tenor saxophonist, with an dynamic and distinctive sound and soloing style. Born in Buffalo, New York in 1936, Menza started playing tenor saxophone when he was 13. After getting out of the Army, he was with Maynard Ferguson’s Orchestra (1960-1962) as both a soloist and an arranger.

A short tenure with Stan Kenton and a year leading a quintet in Buffalo preceded a period living in Germany (1964-1968). After returning to the U.S., he joined Buddy Rich’s 1968 big band in the “jazz tenor” chair, recording the famous solo cadenza on “Channel 1 Suite” (Recorded “live” at Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas) that utilized circular breathing and has become known as a classic among music educators and musicians alike.

He settled in California and has worked with Elvin Jones (1969), Louie Bellson, as an educator, and in the studios. Don Menza, who has made far too few records, recorded as a leader for Saba (1965) in Germany, Discwasher (1979), Realtime, and Palo Alto (the latter two in 1981). Don was a long time member of The Tonight Show Band, with Johnny Carson.

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 studies programs at colleges and universities worldwide.

In 2005 Don Menza was inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame.