Sax Kari

Sax Kari

A well-known multi-instrumentalist, producer, and songwriter, Sax Kari had a diverse music career spanning many decades. Born in 1920 with the legal name Isaac Columbus Toombs, Jr., he spent his childhood in Chicago. Picking up several instruments on the way, he became a proficient piano, guitar, and reed instrument player. Progressing further, Sax Kari devoted time to the guitar, which landed him gigs as a player in various R&B bands. After gaining experience working for other groups, he moved to Detroit in 1945 and formed his own 18-piece band and began a touring career.

Along with being a performer, Sax Kari also began releasing recordings and gaining fame as a producer.  His record Daughter (That’s Your Red Wagon) hit #8 on the Billboard R&B chart (1954), and more hits followed thereafter. This gave him the credentials to begin writing and producing for other groups as well, and he soon opened up his own recording studio in New Orleans.

Sax Kari had many other nicknames including Ira Green, Candy Yams, and Texas Red, which were given to him throughout his illustrious musical career. Venturing to Seffner, Florida during a residency with his then band Four Sticks of Dynamite and a Fuse, Sax Kari decided to settle in the Sunshine State. He performed as a solo act in the Tampa area while continuing to work as a producer. Sax Kari performed at the 1997 Florida Folklife Festival, the same year he released the record Love Juice under the name Candy Yams and the Bluesville Express. He retired and passed away in nearby Brandon, Florida in 2009.

Point of Interest

Sax Kari arrived in Hillsborough County to play a gig in Seffner with his band. He decided to stay in the area and regularly played solo gigs in the Tampa area until retiring in Brandon, FL.