Richie Cannata, born on March 3, 1949, in Brooklyn, New York, is a highly respected American saxophonist, multi-instrumentalist, producer, and studio owner. Cannata has had an illustrious career spanning several decades, working with numerous prominent artists, and is best known for his work as a member of Billy Joel’s band during the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Cannata grew up in a musical family, with his father being an accomplished musician and band leader. He began playing the saxophone at the age of 10 and later expanded his instrumental skills to include the flute, clarinet, and keyboards. After attending the New York Institute of Technology, Cannata began working as a professional musician, playing in various bands in the New York City area.
In 1975, Cannata’s career took a significant turn when he was invited to join Billy Joel’s band. He quickly became an integral part of the group, contributing saxophone, flute, and keyboard parts to many of Joel’s most iconic songs, including “New York State of Mind,” “Just the Way You Are,” and “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant.” Cannata remained with the band for seven years, touring and recording extensively, and becoming a key contributor to Joel’s signature sound.
In addition to his work with Billy Joel, Cannata has also collaborated with an impressive array of artists, such as The Beach Boys, Jennifer Lopez, Celine Dion, and Bernie Williams. His versatility as a musician and his ability to adapt to various musical styles have made him a sought-after session player and live performer.
Cannata is also a successful producer and studio owner. In 1989, he opened Cove City Sound Studios in Glen Cove, New York. The studio has since become a hub for recording artists across various genres, hosting major acts such as Mariah Carey, Ray Charles, and Dream Theater. As a producer, Cannata has worked with numerous artists, helping to shape their sound and bring their creative visions to life.
Richie Cannata’s impact on the music industry is undeniable. His work as a saxophonist, multi-instrumentalist, and producer has left an indelible mark on countless projects, and his dedication to nurturing and supporting fellow musicians speaks to his passion for the art of music. With a career spanning multiple decades, Cannata continues to inspire and influence both his peers and future generations of musicians.
Page last updated 3/18/2023.