by Michael P. Gladstone
Cellist Fred Katz has indeed led a fascinating life. His primary contribution to jazz music was as cellist for the influential Chico Hamilton Quartet of the mid-to-late 1950s. Katz, who studied under Pablo Casals, would leave Hamilton and never return to jazz again. He did release a handful of albums under his own name, and perhaps this 1959 session provides the biggest mystery.
A longtime Zen Buddhist, Katz wanted find some commonality between African, Hebrew and ...read more
by Eyal Hareuveni
Cellist and composer Fred Katz is an extraordinary character. He studied cello with Pablo Casals, introduced the cello to the jazz world as a member in the Chico Hamilton Quartet and recorded solo jazz albums. He's also inspired and influenced many musicians, such as another forward-thinking cellist, Fred Lonberg-Holm, who dedicated his A Valentine for Fred Katz, (Atavistic, 2002) to the visionary artist.
A multi-disciplinary radical, Katz composed soundtracks (most noteworthy is 1960's Little Shop of Horrors), accompanied actor Sidney ...read more
by Elliott Simon
Fred Katz is generally credited with being the first musician to explore the possibility of the cello as a jazz instrument. He accomplished this while an integral member of drummer Chico Hamilton's influential '50s quintet and through his own solo works such as Soul-o-cello (Decca, 1957), Fred Katz and His Jammers (Decca, 1958) and Zen (World Pacific, 1956). Katz met Hamilton while the two were backing vocalist Lena Horne and when Hamilton was looking for a different kind of instrument ...read more
by Dan McClenaghan
Call Fred Katz a visionary, an iconoclast, a far-out Zen guy. Here's a quote from Katz that gives some insight into the mind of the artist: Tradition is a terrible tyrant. Memory, man. It's better to live in the moment. I am eating this sandwich. Know what I mean?"Katz possesses a long, strange resume: the scoring of the Roger Corman films Little Shop of Horrors (1960) and Bucket of Blood (1959); a late-fifties stint as A&R man for ...read more
by Troy Collins
An early student of Pablo Casals, Fred Katz is best known as the seminal jazz cellist in Chico Hamilton's breakthrough chamber jazz quintet of the 1950s. With a lengthy list of credits to his oeuvre, Katz went on to forge an unprecedented career path. From film score composer for Roger Corman (Little Shop of Horrors, A Bucket of Blood, The Wasp Woman) and one-time A&R man for Decca Records to gigs as arranger for such oddball concept records as Sidney ...read more