Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
A superior guitarist for a half-century, Joe Puma had a steady if low-profile career, uplifting many sessions without getting famous himself. Puma came from a musical family (several relatives played guitar) and his first major job was with vibraphonist Joe Roland (1949-1950). In the 1950s Puma appeared on many recording sessions including with Roland, Louie Bellson, Artie Shaw & His Gramercy Five (1954), Eddie Bert, Herbie Mann, Mat Mathews, Chris Connor, and Paul Quinichette. Puma was seemingly everywhere during that era. He accompanied Morgana King for two years and in the 1960s recorded with Bobby Hackett, Gary Burton (1964), and Carmen McRae, among many others. During 1972-1977 he co-led a duo with fellow guitarist Chuck Wayne, later became a teacher, and remained musically active on a part-time basis into the late '90s. Joe Puma led recording dates of his own for Bethlehem, Dawn, Jubilee, Columbia, and Reservoir. His last album as a leader, It's a Blue World, was recorded in 1997 and released in 1999 on Euphoria Jazz. He also appeared on the Warren Vaché CD What Is There to Say?, recorded in 1999 and released the following year on Nagel Heyer. Joe Puma died from cancer in New York City on May 31, 2000; he was 72 years old.