Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
An excellent cool-toned tenor who found his own voice in the Lester Young-influenced Four Brothers sound, Richie Kamuca tended to be overshadowed by those who came first (such as Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, and Al Cohn) but musicians knew how good he was. Kamuca was a soloist with the orchestras of Stan Kenton (1952-1953) and Woody Herman (1954-1956), and then worked steadily on the West Coast with such groups as those led by Chet Baker, Maynard Ferguson, the Lighthouse All-Stars (1957-1958), Shorty Rogers, and Shelly Manne (1959-1961). He recorded one album apiece as a leader for Liberty, Mode, and Hi Fi (1956-1957); the latter two have been reissued by V.S.O.P. Moving to New York in 1962, Kamuca worked with Gerry Mulligan, Gary McFarland, and Roy Eldridge (1966-1971), but was fairly obscure. In 1972, he moved back to Los Angeles to work in the studios, but he also played jazz locally with small groups and with Bill Berry's L.A. Big Band. In his later years (1977) before his death from cancer (the day before his 47th birthday), Richie Kamuca recorded three wonderful albums for Concord.