Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
A versatile pianist and arranger, Dick Katz has been responsible for many stimulating and memorable recordings through the years, often as an important sideman and/or producer. He studied at the Peabody Institute, the Manhattan School of Music, and Juilliard, in addition to taking piano lessons from Teddy Wilson. In the 1950s, he picked up important experience as a member of the house rhythm section of the Café Bohemia, with the groups of Ben Webster and Kenny Dorham, the Oscar Pettiford big band, and later with Carmen McRae. Katz was part of the popular J.J. Johnson/Kai Winding Quintet (1954-1955) and Orchestra USA and participated on Benny Carter's classic Further Definitions album. He has freelanced throughout much of his career and was a guiding force behind some of Helen Merrill's finest recordings. Katz, who played with Roy Eldridge and Lee Konitz starting in the late '60s, co-founded Milestone Records in 1966 with Orrin Keepnews. In the 1990s, Dick Katz worked both as a pianist and an arranger with the American Jazz Orchestra and Loren Schoenberg's big band. Unfortunately, he has not recorded all that frequently as a leader, cutting fairly obscure dates for Atlantic (1957 and 1959), BeeHive (1984), and Reservoir (1992), but the jazz world is well aware of his talents.