Kaminsky, Max

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Kaminsky, Max

Kaminsky, Max, jazz trumpeter; b. Brockton, Mass., Sept. 7, 1908; d. Castle Point, N.Y., Sept. 6, 1994. At 12, he led his own juvenile band in Boston, the Six Novelty Syncopators. During the early 1920s he worked with various bands in his home state, including a spell with Art Karle’s Band in Cape Cod. He temporarily moved to Chicago in 1928 and played at the Cinderella Ballroom (with George Wettling and Frank Teschemacher). He returned to Boston before revisiting Chicago. He went to N.Y. in 1929, toured with Red Nichols, then returned to Boston. He played with Leo Reisman at the Bradlord Hotel (Boston), during the early 1930s and also gigged with various small bands. On his occasional trips to N.Y. he recorded with Mezz Mezzrow, Benny Goodman, and Eddie Condon. He worked with the Joe Venuti Orch. in N.Y. (early 1934), then with the Teddy Roy Band, Eddie Elkins, Jacques Renard, Jack Marshard, and Leo Reisman, before joining Tommy Dorsey (September-December 1936). He was in a small band with Pee Wee Russell before playing briefly with Ray Noble’s Band (early 1937), and later that year worked in the short-lived Mezz Mezzrow’s Disciples of Swing. He was with Artie Shaw from January-June 1938, then again with Pee Wee Russell before rejoining Tommy Dorsey in November 1938. He played with the Bud Freeman Summa Cum Laude Band 1939-40, then joined Tony Pastor Band for a few months until March 1941, when he rejoined Shaw, but left to join Alvino Rey (early 1942). He then played with Joe Marsala’s Big Band until joining the U.S. Navy in summer of 1942. He served in Artie Shaw’s Naval Band, including a tour of the Pacific area, during which he recorded with local jazzmen in Australia (1943). He returned to the U.S. in December 1943, gained an honorable discharge in March 1944. He participated in mid-1940s concerts at Carnegie Hall and Town Hall organized by Condon. He led his own band at Pied Piper, N.Y., until December 1944, played in Art Hodes’s Band (1945), then from November 1945 until March 1946 he led his own band in Boston. He was with Eddie Condon until January 1947, then worked with Art Hodes and briefly with Jack Teagarden. He led his own band at the Village Vanguard from 1948. Through the 1950s, he combined small jazz-group work with regular stints in society orchs. In autumn 1957, he toured Europe with Jack Teagarden-Earl Hines All Stars, and in late 1958 began a tour of the Orient with Jack Teagar-den’s Band. From 1960 has he worked frequently in N.Y. jazz groups, occasionally leading his own small bands at various clubs including Eddie Condon’s. He also made appearances at the Newport Jazz Festival and N.Y. World’s Fair in the mid 1960s. During the late 1960s he was regularly featured at Jimmy Ryan’s (N.Y). He visited London in March 1970. During the 1940s, he played at many of Eddie Condon’s N.Y. Town Hall Concerts. He had a prolific freelance recording career. He left Ryan’s (1970), was active in N.Y. (1970–71), and toured Japan with George Wein (September 1971). He played regularly at Jimmy Ryan’s Club (N.Y) (1978–83).


The Eel (1933); Windy City Six (1954); Jazz on the Campus Ltd. (1954); Chicago Style (1954); Max Goes East (1963); Tea for Two (1975).


My Life in jazz (N.Y., 1963).

—John Chilton, Who‘s Who of Jazz/Lewis Porter