Richard Aaron Katz was born in Baltimore, Maryland on March 13th 1924. His early experience playing piano was with Oscar Pettiford and Kenny Clarke in the house rhythm section at New York's Cafe Bohemia, backing a succession of horn players that included Art Farmer, Donald Byrd, Gigi Gryce and Miles Davis. He also worked with the J.J.Johnson - Kai Winding Trombone band and Philly Joe Jones in the 1950's. Then in early 1960's he was with Orchestra U.S.A. and later with vocalist Helen Merrill. In 1966 he free-lanced with Roy Eldridge and then Bobby Hackett, and with Orrin Keepnews founded the Milestone record label. With that label he acted as a producer, Artists and Repertoire man and was able to free-lance as a pianist also.
He later left Milestone to play full time with first Lee Konitz in 1972 and then Roy Eldridge in 1973. He toured Japan with Konitz in 1973 and with the Konitz-Kai Winding Quintet through Europe in 1974.
In the late 1970's he taught a jazz history course and then went back on the road again with Budd Johnson, Kenny Davern and later Sonny Stitt.
Much of Katz's recent activity has been with the American Jazz Orchestra and Loren Schoenberg's big band.
|Recommended recordings:||"Lee Konitz Duets" with Lee Konitz||OJC OJCCD-466-2|
as a leader
|Reservoir RSR CD 127|