An eccentric character who was a fine soloist and an underrated arranger, Willie Maiden
played mostly in big bands throughout his career. He started studying piano when he was five and switched to saxophone at 11. Maiden
was an arranger for Maynard Ferguson
as early as 1952 and was a member (and a tenor soloist) for Ferguson
during Ferguson's Roulette years, starting in 1956. Maiden
played with Charlie Barnet
in 1966 and from 1969-73 was the baritonist and a composer/arranger for Stan Kenton
, being virtually the only veteran (other than the leader) in the youthful orchestra. Maiden's last few years were spent teaching at the University of Maine. The tenorman never led his own record session.