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Buddy Catlett

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Born: May 13, 1933    Primary Instrument: Bass

Buddy Catlett

The incredibly solid bassist Buddy Catlett has been going strong since the late '50s, appearing on more than 100 jazz recordings. He is also a multi-instrumentalist stemming from his studies as a child on clarinet and saxophone, talents he kept up throughout his career. In 1996 he tricked discographer Tom Lord into thinking there were two different guys named Buddy Catlett, one a bassist and the other a horn blower. It is of course on the former axe that this artist, born George James Catlett, is best known. Highlights of his recording career on bass include an order of “Cocktails for Two” with the Louis Armstrong band in which most of the theme is sipped as a bass solo. Catlett was associated with the music scenes in several different parts of the United States. Seattle figures prominently in his biography this was where he began studying music as well as a place to which he returned again and again, taking part for example in an '80s collaborative ensemble with Clarence Acox called the Roadside Attraction Big Band. Flash forward another 20 years and he would still be playing with jazz big bands in Seattle. He also was as much a fixture on the Denver jazz scene in the late '50s as a decent day's view of the Rockies in the distance.

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”Buddy Catlett, a man who makes the bass sound as warm as a mother's embrace, is honored by long-time colleagues. In the late 1940s, he gigged on Seattle's fabled Jackson Street with Quincy Jones and Ray Charles, then hit the road from the 1950s to 1970s with Jones, Cal Tjader, Count Basie, and Louis Armstrong, and recorded landmark albums with them, Frank Sinatra, and others. In 1978 he returned to Seattle, where he is held in both awe and admiration.” --Earshot Jazz

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