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Fred Katz

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Fred Katz (born February 25, 1919) is an American composer, songwriter, conductor, cellist, and professor. Katz was classically trained at the cello and piano and began his career in a number of classical and swing orchestras. In the early 1950s, Katz accompanied singers such as Lena Horne, Tony Bennett and Frankie Laine. From 1955 through 1958, he was a member of the Chico Hamilton Quintet. He also recorded several solo albums for Pacific Jazz, Warner Bros., and Decca Records. At Decca, he also served as A&R director. In the late 1950s and 1960s, Katz scored a number of films for Roger Corman, including A Bucket of Blood and The Little Shop of Horrors

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Article: Album Review

Tomeka Reid Quartet: 3+3

Read "3+3" reviewed by Chris May


Jazz cello has come a long way since Fred Katz's pioneering work with Chico Hamilton in the 1950s. Back then, the instrument was looked on as a novelty turn. In 2024, while still relatively avant-garde, its presence in a lineup is less exceptional. A pivotal point was American cellist Adbul Wadud's By Myself (Bishara, 1977), an ...

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Article: Album Review

Rudy Royston & Flatbed Buggy: DAY

Read "DAY" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan


Drummer Rudy Royston debuted his group Flatbed Buggy in 2018, with the eponymous Greenleaf Records release. It had the feeling of a jazz-folk chamber group. With its unusual instrumentation--Gary Versace's accordion, Hank Roberts' cello, and John Ellis' bass clarinet joining Royston's drums and Joe Martin's bass--a laid-back and engaging Americana vibe emerged. The follow-up, ...

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Article: Radio & Podcasts

Miho Hazama, Sheila Jordan and Others

Read "Miho Hazama, Sheila Jordan and Others" reviewed by Jerome Wilson


This show covers a wide range of music from big band work by Miho Hazama and William Parker to the vocals of Sheila Jordan and Karin Krog and the “out there" explorations of Joe McPhee and Thumbscrew. Playlist Henry Threadgill Sextett “I Can't Wait Till I Get Home" from The Complete Novus & Columbia ...

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Article: Hardly Strictly Jazz

2020 and Me

Read "2020 and Me" reviewed by Skip Heller


As I type this, it is December 8, 2020, the fortieth anniversary of John Lennon's murder. I was then a newly-minted barband guitarist, fifteen years old and thinking how the world —via the election of Ronald Reagan —and music had just suffered the worst season that could ever be. 2020 has been an ongoing ...

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Article: Building a Jazz Library

Drummers as Bandleaders: An Alternative Top Ten Albums

Read "Drummers as Bandleaders: An Alternative Top Ten Albums" reviewed by Chris May


Drummers have been key members of every band which has changed the course of jazz history, from Max Roach with Charlie Parker to Elvin Jones with John Coltrane and onwards. Yet drummers have been the leaders of a surprisingly small proportion of landmark bands themselves. Chick Webb in the 1920s was the first of the few. ...

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Article: Album Review

Rez Abbasi: A Throw Of Dice

Read "A Throw Of Dice" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan


Rez Abbasi has written a score for a 1929 movie—not an everyday jazz endeavor, but that is what the guitarist/composer does with his thirteenth recording. This after-the-fact soundtrack composing, though rare, is not unprecedented. In 2015 guitarist Aram Bajakian wrote and self produced a recording--an unofficial soundtrack--to the 1969 Soviet film The Color Of Pomegranates, an ...

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Article: Jazz Poetry

Poetry and Jazz: A Chronology

Read "Poetry and Jazz: A Chronology" reviewed by Duncan Heining


My intention here is to offer a detailed but inevitably incomplete chronology of poetry and jazz. The focus is solely on the combination of the two art forms in performance, not on poetry about jazz or jazz musicians or poetry inspired by jazz but not performed to music. My definition of 'poetry' is fairly broad and ...

News: Recording

Sweet Smell of Success

Sweet Smell of Success

As the years progressed in the 1950s, a growing number of movies began to feature jazz-flavored scores. Film music's shift to a more contemporary feel was being expressed in virtually all areas of art and design. Starting roughly mid-decade, sleek modernism took hold in architecture, car design, home furnishings and even office furniture as prefabrication, glass, ...

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Article: Album Review

Ballake Sissoko / Vincent Segal: Chamber Music

Read "Chamber Music" reviewed by Chris May


Until quite recently, the kora was a curiosity which generally required the bracketed explanation (a 16 or 21 string West African harp) when referred to in print. Today, with “world music" part of the cultural mainstream, the instrument is almost commonplace. More so, in jazz anyway, than the cello (a four string viol pitched above a ...


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