Fred Katz's cello playing with the Chico Hamilton Quintet during 1955-1958 was largely responsible for the popular cool jazz group's unique sound and atmospheric style. Katz was classically trained (he had studied with Pablo Casals) and worked in orchestras, but also played piano. In the early '50s, he accompanied several singers, including Lena Horne and Tony Bennett. While with Hamilton, Katz also recorded several albums of his own for Pacific Jazz, Decca, and Warner Bros. (1956-1958). After leaving Chico (with whom he recorded one final set in 1959), Katz mostly worked outside of jazz, both in classical music and as a professor in anthropology. In 1989, he was part of a Chico Hamilton Quintet reunion, recording for Soul Note and showing that he was still a masterful musician.
by Scott Yanow