Joe Puma; Jazz Guitarist Known for Subtlety
Joe Puma, 72, a jazz guitarist whose reflective style placed him in demand as both a soloist and an accompanist. Born in New York, Puma taught himself to play guitar as a teenager but spent the World War II years working as a draftsman and an airline mechanic. His first important jazz job came in 1949 when he performed in New York with the noted vibraphonist Joe Roland. Over the next decade, Puma played and recorded with Louis Bellson, Artie Shaw’s Gramercy Five, Lee Konitz and Dick Hyman. In the 1960s, Puma recorded with Herbie Mann, Bobby Hackett and Gary Burton. His subtle style brought him steady work with singers such as Peggy Lee, Carmen McRae, Morgana King, Helen Merrill and Tony Bennett. On May 31 in New York City of cancer.