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Saturday, 25 February 2017

Fred Katz born 25 February 1919


Frederick Katz (February 25, 1919 – September 7, 2013) was an American cellist and composer. He was among the earliest jazz musicians to establish the cello as a viable improvising solo instrument.  

Frederick Katz was born on Feb. 25, 1919, in Brooklyn and reared in the Williamsburg section there. A prodigy on both the cello and the piano, he was performing in public by the time he was a teenager. As a young man he was a cello student of Pablo Casals and a member of the National Symphony Orchestra. 

But Mr. Katz found himself attracted increasingly to the jazz he had heard in the Manhattan nightclubs he had haunted as a youth. A Communist as a young man — for him, art, spirituality and progressive politics formed a seamless, imperative whole — he was also deeply drawn to folk music. 

During World War II, Mr. Katz was an entertainment director with the Seventh Army in Germany, conducting concerts and writing arrangements for musical revues. Afterward he moved to the West Coast and turned his attention to popular music. 

As a pianist, Mr. Katz accompanied Horne and Vic Damone. As an arranger and conductor, he was responsible for McRae’s 1958 album, “Carmen for Cool Ones.” As a composer, he wrote several songs sung by Laine, including “Satan Wears a Satin Gown,” written with Laine and with Jacques Wilson. 

He wrote music for a slew of Mr. Corman’s sanguinary low-budget films, including “The Wasp Woman” (1959), “A Bucket of Blood” (1959) and “The Little Shop of Horrors” (1960).  
 
 
                               

Mr. Katz joined the Hamilton quintet primarily as a pianist, playing the cello only on ballads. Between sets, he often took his cello and sat onstage alone, playing a classical work like an unaccompanied Bach suite. One night, playing between sets at a small club in Long Beach, Calif., Mr. Katz, his eyes closed in reverie, did not realize that his band mates had crept back onstage. The stage was tiny and crowded, and by the time the band swung into an up-tempo number and he realized what had happened, he could no longer get to the piano. So he stayed where he was, cello in hand, and played along — and with that the group had its new sound, and went on to become one of the most popular in jazz.
 
Mr. Katz’s great facility on the cello, combined with its capacious range of tone and pitch (its lowest note is two octaves below middle C, its highest more than two octaves above it), made his cello a singular sonic addition to the Chico Hamilton Quintet. The quintet appeared in the movies “Sweet Smell of Success” (1957), with Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis, and “Jazz on a Summer’s Day” (1960), Bert Stern’s documentary about the Newport Jazz Festival. 

An autodidact who left high school before graduating, Mr. Katz held faculty appointments at California State University, Northridge, and Cal State, Fullerton, teaching world music, anthropology and religion. He was a longtime Fullerton resident. 


His albums as an orchestrator and conductor include “Folk Songs for Far Out Folk,” originally recorded in 1958. Rereleased in 2007 to wide attention, it features his adaptations of American, African and Hebraic folk music. His recordings as a cellist include “Soul-o Cello” (1957) and “Fred Katz and His Jammers” (1958). 

Katz died on September 7, 2013, in Santa Monica, California. He was 94.

(Info mainly edited from an article by MARGALIT FOX for the NY Times)
 
 

2 comments:

boppinbob said...

Fred Katz and His Music - Soulº Cello / 4-5-6 Trio / & His Jammers (3 Lps On 2 Cds)

Cd. 1 https://www.sendspace.com/file/5a7nxw

1 Country Gardens (Grainger) 2:46
2 Satori (Katz) 3:44
3 Andante (Henderson) 2:36
4 Circus (Alter, Russell) 3:20
5 Wayfaring Stranger (trad.) 2:30
6 Time after Time (Styne, Cahn) 3:51
7 The Vidiot (Katz) 2:05
8 Lament of the Oracles (Katz) 3:49
9 I’m Glad There is You (Dorsey, Madeira) 3:09
10 The Toy That Never Was (Katz) 3:33
11 Intermezzo (Prevost) 2:52
12 Come with Me (Marx) 2:50
13 Symphony [bonus tracks] (Lawrence, Alstone) 2:54
14 While the Music Plays On [bonus tracks] (Fien, Mills, Heim) 4:22
15 Four, Five, Six (Pisano) 3:46
16 Sophisticated Lady (Ellington, Parish, Mills) 4:15


Cd. 2 https://www.sendspace.com/file/pawida

1 Isn’t It Romantic (Rodgers, Hart) 2:40
2 Delia (Gaylor) 4:41
3 Like Someone in Love (Burke, VanHeusen) 2:48
4 Krelch (Gaylor) 3:25
5 Mountain Air (Katz) 3:22
6 Perdido (Tizol) 4:47
7 I’m Gettin’ Sentimental Over You (Washington, Bassman) 5:31
8 Feeling the Blues (Vinnegar) 6:41
9 Elegy (Katz) 2:32
10 Imagination (Burke, VanHeusen) 3:24
11 Vintage 57 (Vinnegar, Norris) 4:25
12 Old Folks (Robinson, Hills) 4:53
13 The Blow Is to Know (Katz) 4:33
14 Sometimes I’m Happy (Youmans, Caesar) 4:39
15 Ruby My Dear (Monk) 3:58
16 Dixie, Why Not ? (Katz) 4:09
17 Dexterity (Parker) 3:30


Personnel
[Cd. 1, # 1-12] Fred Katz & His Music - Soul° Cello (Decca DL 9202)
Fred Katz - cel
Paul Horn - fl, cl & as [# 1, 4-7 & 11]
Buddy Collette - as [# 1, 4-7 & 11]
Harry Klee - fl [# 1, 4-7 & 11]
Bill Green - fl [# 1, 4-7 & 11]
Calvin Jackson - p
Ann Stockton - hrp
John Pisano - g
Hal Gaylor - b
Chico Hamilton - dr
Recorded at the Decca Studios, Hollywood, California ; January 15 & 22 [# 1, 4-7 & 11], 1958
[Cd. 1, # 13 & 14] John Pisano & Billy Bean - Makin' It (Decca DL 9206), here
Fred Katz - p [# 13] & cel [# 14]
Calvin Jackson - p [# 14]
John Pisano - g
Billy Bean - g
Gene Estes - vb
Hal Gaylor - b
Larry Bunker [# 13] & Chico Hamilton - dr [# 14]
Alexander Neiman, Irving Manning - vl [# 14]
Raphael Kramer - cel
Edgar Lustgarten - cel [# 14]
Recorded same place as above ; January 24 [# 13] & 30, 1958
[Cd. 1, # 15-16 & Cd. 2, # 1-7] Fred Katz - "4-5-6 TRIO" (Decca DL 9213)
Fred Katz - cel
John Pisano - g
Hal Gaylor - b
Recorded Same place as above ; May 26, 1958
[Cd. 2, # 8-17] Fred Katz & His Jammers (Decca DL 9217)
Fred Katz - cel
Don Fagerquist - tp
Pete Candoli - tp [# 9, 14, 16 & 17]
Gene Estes - vb
Leroy Vinnegar - b
Frank Butler - dr [# 9, 14, 16 & 17]
Billy Higgins - dr [# 11, 12 & 15]
Lenny McBrowne - dr [# 8, 10 & 13]
Recorded same place as above ; March 12, 1959 [# 8, 10 & 13] ; May 26, 1959 [# 11, 12 & 15] ; & August 28, 1959 [# 9, 14, 16 & 17]

David Federman said...

The first Chico Hamilton Quintet album changed my life by saving it when I was a teenager. I still remember first hearing Katz's composition "The Sage" and hearing new possibilities for bridging the worlds of classical music and jazz. I have a handful of friends who still attest to the life-enhancing qualities of that Pacific Jazz album. Fortunately, I got to see Chico's quintet with Paul Horn and John Pisano. That hot August Sunday afternoon at the Red Hill Inn is still one of my most cherished memories. Turnout for Chico was so small, he spent his whole third set drumming for the audience. "Zen" remains one of my all-time favorite records. Thank you for this tribute. I pray my kids will be given musical memories as precious as the ones your post has brought to mind.