If not for the pandemic, we would have been looking forward to the greatest weekend of the year, as far as Chicago jazz lovers are concerned.
For the annual Chicago Jazz Festival would be happening Labor Day weekend — as always — in Millennium Park, listeners of various races, ethnicities and age groups coming together to revel in the music.
A Grammy Award-winning saxophonist who played with Miles Davis and toured with Santana. A virtuoso jazz-funk drummer with worldwide acclaim. The premiere organist in the San Francisco Bay area. Frank Catalano (pictured), Mike Clark and Wil Blades combine their considerable talents (and impressive jazz resumes) to create this elite ensemble.
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As drummer of alternative rockers Smashing Pumpkins, Jimmy Chamberlin has sold over 30 million records worldwide since 1988, establishing himself as one of the greatest drummers of his generation through his playing on seven Pumpkins studio albums, including classics like Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.
While best known for his playing in the rock realm, Chamberlin was actually trained in the jazz tradition, a passion which has seeped into his solo recordings on a pair of albums as the Jimmy Chamberlin Complex, in addition to work alongside Grammy winning Chicago-based saxophone player Frank Catalano on six albums (including Tokyo Number 9, which topped the Billboard jazz chart in 2017.)
Bye Bye Blackbird
Source: Elmore Magazine
Saxophonist Frank Catalano pays tribute to fellow Chicagoan saxophonists Von Freeman and Eddie Harris on this new set of standards, old and new. Alto sax man David Sanborn trades licks on two of the six tracks, the title cut and the soul-jazz classic “Sugar,” and the two come something close to magic.
Catalano’s group tours with Smashing Pumpkins, and Catalano himself has maintained a close friendship with Pumpkins’ drummer Jimmy Chamberlain, who infuses his own take into this music. Blues and funk often underlay Catalano’s Chicago-based horn sound, and Demos Petropoulos on Hammond B3 pushes the sound in that direction more than most jazzmen would. The music on this Bye Bye Blackbird—as most good music does—draws from a variety of genres, a habit that stands Catalano in good stead when he plays Etta James (“At Last”) or Miles Davis (“All Blues”) or when he sits in with Beyoncé and John Legend.
– Suzanne Cadgène
by: Howard Reich
When it comes to playing through pain, Chicago tenor saxophonist Frank Catalano has more experience than most of his colleagues.
Eighteen years ago, he severed the middle finger of his right hand while fixing his car, enduring surgery to reattach it and months of therapy to regain the ability to play his horn. To this day, the digit sometimes swells up like a balloon.
Two years ago, he was in auto accident that tore a ligament and cartilage in a shoulder and left his neck “hanging out like a Slinky,” he recalls.
Months of therapy have ensued, and it wasn’t until last year that he started playing hard again, though he has had to cancel dozens of important engagements along the way.
So when he takes the stage of Andy’s Jazz Club on Friday and Saturday nights, Catalano, one of the mightiest of this city’s under-40 tenor men, will be ready for battle, he says.
“At this point, I’m just excited to be in one piece,” Catalano says.
by Neil Tesser
Source:New York Times
Saxophonists are collectors; it’s an occupational hazard. They amass boxes of reeds to find one that works perfectly; their closets bulge with the secondary saxes, clarinets and flutes they are expected to play in bands and orchestras.
And if the home of a professional saxophonist often resembles a small-town music shop of decades past, with perhaps a dozen instruments, Frank Catalano’s home is more like a saxophone Wal-Mart.
Mr. Catalano’s 60 or so instruments, 45 of which sprawl across three floors of his house in Bucktown, include more than 20 models of his main horn, the tenor sax, and several of the big baritone saxes popular in rock ’n’ roll. He also has more than a dozen soprano saxes — many of them the lovely little curved ones in vogue until the 1950s — and some flutes.
He owns two dozen alto saxes alone — and he does not even play alto, at least not in public.
by Dan Ferris and Mike Jeffers
Source:Chicago Jazz Magazine
in his own words…Frank Catalano
Precocious Chicago-born sax player Frank Catalano has performed with Miles Davis, Randy Brecker, Charles Earland, Elvin Jones, Stan Getz, Betty Carter, Von Freeman, Tito Puente, Tony Bennett, Les Claypool and Louis Bellson… and he did so while still in high school!
By age eighteen Catalano had his first record contract, with Chicago’s Delmark Records. This led to a string of critically acclaimed recordings. Catalano has been heard by millions of people all over the world, thanks in part to three Grammy-winning and eleven Grammy-nominated recordings with artists such as Jennifer Lopez, Destiny’s Child, and John Legend. More recently, he has performed live on the Oprah Winfrey TV show with singer/composer Seal, and had two successful albums: Bang!, on the Savoy label, which debuted at #12 on the Billboard Jazz Charts, and his previous CD, Mighty Burner, which was on the Billboard Charts for twenty straight weeks.
by Dean Robbins
Tenor saxophonist Frank Catalano has led a charmed life, especially for a modern-day jazz musician. Jazz doesn’t mint as many successful stars as it used to, but Catalano makes the career path look easy.
As a Chicago teenager, he caught the eye of the prominent saxophonist Von Freeman, who became his mentor. He played with Miles Davis and Tony Bennett and signed his first record contract at age 17. Shortly thereafter, he placed two albums on the Billboard jazz charts, Mighty Burner and Bang!
by In Tune Monthly
by Von Rolf Graff
Minden (rgr). Für Frank Catalano aus Chicago war der erste Auftritt im Mindener Jazz Club zugleich seine Premiere in Deutschland und für das Mindener Publikum war dies die erste Begegnung mit einem Saxophonisten, der nicht umsonst international schon zur Spitze gehört.
Catalono braucht keine Anlaufzeit. Mit noch jugendlicher Kraft beginnt der 33-Jährige gleich auf hohem Energielevel, bläst ein paar groovende Funk-Phrasen, kurze R&B-Licks, die von der Band weitergeführt werden, und widmet sich dann fast ausufernden Sololinien. Man könnte fast von Riff-Jazz sprechen, so einprägsam sind seine Phrasen.