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Paul Moen Dies

Paul Moen, a tenor saxophone player who worked with Buddy Rich and Lionel Hampton, died Friday, October 10 at his home in Bremerton, Wash. Authorities have not released the cause of death, though friends of Moen suspect it was gastrointestinal bleeding. He was 51.

Moen was a Bremerton native who attended local West High School and played in its jazz band. Upon graduation he attended and played sax at Olympic College, also located in Bremerton. He then spent time honing his chops in Seattle’s jazz scene, which led to a Quincy Jones scholarship that allowed Moen to attend Berklee College of Music

in Boston, where he earned a degree.

By the late ’70s Moen was a soloing in and writing arrangements for vibraphonist Lionel Hampton’s big band and was touring the country in Buddy Rich’s band. Among other albums by Hampton, Moen can be heard on All-Star Band at Newport and Hamp in Harlem. Rich’s 1977 LP Lionel Hampton Presents Buddy Rich, on the Who’s Who label, features the Moen-penned tune “Latin Silk.” Other name players Moen worked with include Dizzy Gillespie, Cab Calloway and Ray Mantilla, for whom the saxophonist wrote the song “Mantilla’s Jazz.”

The big band scene had lost its strength by the ’90s, so Moen returned to Bremerton where he helped care for his parents and performed locally. In August 2002 he organized a series of concerts called “Sax in the City” that were put on at Bremerton’s Admiral Theatre.

Moen leaves no known survivors.

Originally Published