Max Kaminsky: trumpeter

Max Kaminsky: born Sep. 7, 1908 in Brockton, MA; died: Sep. 6, 1994 in Castle Point, NY

    Brockton, Massachusetts native Max Kaminsky was one of the great classic trumpet stylists, with a full sound and concise, swinging approach that honored the innovations and heritage of his idols King Oliver and Louis Armstong in a career that spanned over half a century.

    While Kaminsky studied with Henry Pollock and had some of his earliest gigs in Boston, he found his initial fame in Chicago, where he quickly became identified with Bud Freeman, Benny Goodman, George Wettling and other members of the Austin High Gang. After returning to Boston for an extended stay with Leo Reisman in the early 1930s, Kaminsky left for New York in 1933.

    After working with Joe Venuti, he began a string of featured jobs with big bands, including those of Tommy Dorsey, Goodman and Artie Shaw, enjoying his most extended stay with Shaw including a tour of the Pacific Theater during World War II. In addition to leading his own band at the 1939 World’s Fair, Kaminsky worked a variety of Manhattan clubs under his own name, including such legendary venues as Eddie Condon’s, the Metropole and Jimmy Ryan’s, and was a regular at Ryan’s through the 1970s.

    Other Kaminsky credits include sideman appearances with Sidney Bechet, Earl Hines, Jack Teagarden and the Jackie Gleason Orchestra. His autobiography, My Life in Jazz, was published in 1963.

    –Bob Blumenthal

Max Kaminsky

Max Kaminsky (photo by William Gottlieb)