A proud Life Time member of the American Federation of Musicians since 1957, Frank Mayes has spent his life as a woodwind performer (flute, clarinet and saxophone), recording artist and college professor. He has served on the Executive Board of AFM Local 174-496 New Orleans since 2006 following Hurricane Katrina and has also served several years on the Recruitment and Education Committees.
A native of Raleigh, North Carolina, Frank Mayes attended the University of North Texas in Denton where he began his professional career performing with the Joe Reichman Orchestra in Texas during college. Traveling throughout the state of Texas and beyond, he performed with acts and bands such as Phil Harris and Tex Beneke, among other jazz luminaries.
In 1966, after graduating with a B.M. in Music Education, he moved to Los Angeles, via Las Vegas and San Fransisco. From 1966-68, Frank studied woodwinds with renowned studio woodwind doubler, William (Bill) Green. During his twelve year tenure in Los Angeles, he performed, recorded and/or toured extensively with the Fraternity of Man, Delaney & Bonnie, Duane Allman, the Beach Boys, Mac “Dr. John” Rebennack and backed such acts as Little Richard, Mac Davis, the Supremes, Jerry Reed and countless others. He taught at the Sherman School of Music and Arts in Los Angeles with such luminaries as Milton Green, Steve Haberman and Morey Del. Frank then received his Master of Arts in Clarinet Performance from California State University, Northridge in 1977, having studied clarinet with Roy D’Antonio.
Frank moved back to North Carolina in 1978 to teach Woodwinds and Jazz History at Atlantic Christian College (now Barton College) in Wilson. After meeting his wife, Cindy, a fellow woodwind doubler, they married in 1981 and lived in North Carolina for the next four years, teaching, performing and recording from Virginia to Florida.
Moving to New Orleans in 1985, they proceeded to perform and/or record with many local New Orleans and national musicians: Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, Al Belletto, Dave Bartholomew, Sr., Charlie Brent, Kid Johnson, Luther Kent, “Gentleman” June Gardner, Ronnie Kole, “Lucious” Lloyd Lambert, the Temptations, Clark Terry, the O’Jay’s, the Four Tops, the Dells, Lucy Arnez, Lou Rawls, Rita Coolidge and others. For more than four years, Frank played tenor saxophone regularly on Bourbon Street with Frankie “Nola” Lacour.
As a college professor in New Orleans, Frank has taught Woodwinds, Woodwind Methods, Jazz in American Culture and Recording at Loyola University New Orleans (since 1990), Xavier University (1988-2007) and Delgado Community College (2006-2009). He is currently teaching at Loyola University and continues to perform and record music.