The Truth About Joe Maini - JazzWax

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June 16, 2010


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Great choice of photo to illustrate Tina's contention that rumors made Joe appear to be irrational and disturbed. There are some funny stories about Maini in Gordon Jack's interview collection, "Fifties Jazz Talk." A couple of other notable recordings featuring Joe are Jack Montrose's "Blues and Vanilla," and three tracks of Duane Tatro's "Jazz for Moderns."

Griffe R Griffiths

I knew Sandra ( Sandy ) Giuseppe (Joe ) Maini when I lived in NH, I remember Joe, I knew him as Joe, I rmember he was into magic tricks, he would haunt a shop in Portsmouth and learned many tricks, in fact he was very good,. I left NH in a school bus, with my son Ron, son Ithyle and Joe, his mother Sandy asked could I take him for a while, and so I did, we went first to up state NY, and worked our way down to Virginia,and stayed with some friends down there,I remember well Joe doing a magic show for a lot of our friends, he collected enough $$ to get a bus back to NH,I was going to head west, and Joe was home sick, a great kid, now man I had often wondered what had happened to him. As a big jazz fan I had heard of Joe Maini as an amazing sax player and yes there were horrible stories going around,I lived in NYC 1964 - 68 new many musicians some well, a really good friend of mine was good friends with Stan Getz, who laso knew Joe Maini, and he too praised Joe Maini, so I am glad that more TRUE information is coming out. Peace in the Spirit.


Tom Degan

It's nice - after all of these years - to see a film of the legendary Joe Maini!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Bruce Armstrong

As a high school saxophone player on the East Coast in the early 60s I was enthralled with Joe's great lead alto and fiery jazz playing that I heard on records with the Terry Gibbs Big Band (now the "Dream Band"). When I moved to L.A. to attend college I was able to hear Joe in person in both small groups & big bands. When DJ Tommy Bee reported his death on KBCA-FM I was in shock as I had just seen him with Louie Bellson's band at Shelly's Manne-Hole the previous weekend. To this day Joe remains the standard by which I judge all other lead alto players. Tina, your Dad was the greatest. God bless him.

David Langner

I have to agree with the previous post. Joe is the standard for lead alto players. As can be seen in the video, he was also a first rate jazz player. His music also had incredible spirit and drive; it leaps out of the speakers fifty years later demanding your attention. Thanks, Joe.

Tom Degan

This site inspired me to reread parts of Albert Goldman's 1974 biography of Lenny Bruce last night - the sections that refer to Lenny's friendship with Joe Maini. He comes off as such a sweet and lovable character.

Goldman's style of bio has been discredited in recent years. He is sort of Kitty Kelly in drag. Still, one would hope he came close to capturing the essence of the man. One would think that a bio of Joe is in order - or has one already been written?

Tom Degan

Allen Lowe

Just as an added confirmation of Tina Maini’s testimony, Joe Albany always insisted to me that Maini’s death was purely an accident.

Also, a musical observation – I think Maini’s best work is on the Terry Gibbs “live” stuff, where he, at least to my somewhat educated guess work, seems to show a decided Dave Schildkraut influence – though it may be coincidental, his time on some of those solos is very much like Dave’s –

I also like his work on the Mingus/Debut stuff with Knepper/Mingus/Richmond/Triglia, not least of all because the playing of my old friend Bill Triglia shows why Bill was, to my way of thinking, one of the greatest pianists to come out of that era, with a very smart fusion of Al Haig and Bud Powell in his playing.

Rosie Mitichell

Hello Tina - The last time I saw you, you were about three yrs. old..your Dad had you by the hand, and you and he were walking to his car in the parking lot of the Hollywood Musicians Union on Vine St. Your father was like a brother to me, in fact, he use to tell everyone I was his sister...could be, we both had dark hair and eyes...I'll always keep him in my heart..I loved him dearly..I met him when we traveled with the Dorothy Lamour Show, I think the year was '51 - or '52 - He was the life the party always, he was just Joe, a real genius on that horn..I could go on and on, but I hope to hear from you someday, chk. out my website please.. - I'm an my youth, I was a dancer (and went by the name "NOVITA") and was in burlesque also...I worked with Joe a lot in those days..he and Lenny Bruce were my rides to work..actually, Joe rode with Lenny and I most of the time...Love you little girl...Rosie Mitchell-(use to be Rosie Greve in those days) - I'm in the San Fernando Valley (saw your Uncle 'Pat' 2yrs. ago..about...he came over and we went and heard some jazz...would have been wonderful to be able to hear Joe again!!! He was more than special..way way more.

Jack Stafford

Finally - the real truth about Joe Maini.
Joe will always be one of my main Jazz
inspirations. I grew up in the Monterey, California area: Pacific Grove.
Both my parents were Jazz musicians.
I remember all these Terry Gibbs & Bill Holman records, which featured Joe's incredible playing.
The funny thing is that I'm still learning from those recordings and i have been a
professional musician for the last 42 years. Joe's impeccable intonation, sound,
soloing and bird influenced phrasing has kept me going with decades of inspiration.
God could that man swing !
Thank you again.
Jack Stafford
Vancouver, British Columbia


Dear Tina,

I was honored to be your Uncle's step-daughter in the 70's. My brother and I were fortunate enough to learn about your father and what an incredible musician he was. He served as a wonderful influence in our lives -- I married a musician, one of my friends is Mel T's. son and my brother, Ed, is a devoted jazz fan. Please give our best to your uncle and thanks to your father's influenp.ce in the world of Jazz. Saffrona & Jr. You had an awesome
Dad that left an indelible mark in the Jazz forum. And you are beautiful!

Kenny Dyer

I duly apologize for the extreme latency of this comment.
I just recently happened across this article about Joe Maini
on Google and how I could make a response.

My name is Kenny Dyer, Guitar player/Vocalist;

I was the Leader of a popular local R&R/Show Group band,"The Rockbusters"
working in and around L.A. during the late 50s thru the mid 60s. Joe Maini
played Tenor Sax in my band for a (albeit all too short) few weeks, on
2 or 3 separate occasions during 1959-1960 at the "Red Flame" night club
on South Vermont Ave. Got to know him well.
He was not only an incredibly great player, as is well known but, he was
also the most real, humble, down to earth person, and the funniest human
being I believe I have ever known.

He was sharing an apartment with Jack Sheldon and was playing off and on
with Ray Anthony's band in Las Vegas during a portion of the time that I
knew him.

Back then when I heard that horrible news of his untimely tragic accident, I was,
needless to say, gravely shocked beyond belief and extremely saddened.

He has certainly been sorely missed.

Even though the duration of our friendship was fairly short lived, I will
nonetheless, never forget the rare individual he was. I have lost all too
many good close and dearly loved friends and fellow musicians over the the
years but, out of all of them I have ever known, Joe was and always will be,
right at the top of the list.

He was most definitely one of a kind.

I was very privileged to have had the ultimate pleasure of knowing Joe and
and working with him. He will always be remembered.

Cindi Nand

Hey Tina!!! Cindi Huckabee here! Where are you? How can I reach Joe? I want to find you both. I miss you so much. Please write me. I've been living on Maui since 1988
[email protected]

Loren Pickford

Tina. I was close to Ray Graziano in the late 60s/70s. He told me that your father's death was entirely accidental, that he'd gone into another room for a moment and heard the gun go off accidentally. Ray was very remorseful that it had happened with his gun, at his house and was pretty much ostracized by the musical community after the event. He did whatever he could to make a living. He had a yard and garden care business and was in a fatal accident on the freeway and was thrown from his truck.

Loren Pickford

Ray Graziano made it clear to me that he and Joe were joking and laughing at the time. Joe was looking at the gun and Ray told him " Be careful, it's loaded now" and Ray made it clear that Joe was NOT playing Russian Roulette with it. Ray was only out of the room for a minute. It was very hurtful to Ray that people thought he had shot Joe or that others thought Joe was playing Russian Roulette with it. Neither is true. Ray said Joe was always one of his best friends.

Charles Drago

God bless Joe Maini.

The comments to this entry are closed.


  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of 55 More Songs," "Anatomy of a Song," "Rock Concert: An Oral History" and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax has won three Jazz Journalists Association awards.
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