Director of the Jazz Composers Alliance, helped to found the organization after being impressed by the success of other composers collective groups. Originally from Topeka, Kansas, Katz has lived in the Boston area since 1975.
Katz has synthesized a wide range of influences including modern classical, folk/blues traditions, and the entire jazz legacy into a mature and personal compositional style which has marked him as one of Boston's most ambitious and provocative jazz composers (the Boston Phoenix). This is exemplified, for instance, in his Variations On A Theme By Jimi Hendrix, combined with his arrangement of Manic Depression, which been described as celebrating the night that Jimi Hendrix and Igor Stravinsky got into a fight while having dinner at Duke Ellington's house. More recently he has been exploring the relationship of text and music, in a series of collaborations with poet Paula Tatarunis, culminating in the release his improvisational cantata, The Death Of Simone Weil, which features vocalist Rebecca Shrimpton.
There's an impressive variety of textures, colors, and rhythm in all of the JCA's collaborations, but it's never attempted anything like Katz's Simone Weil, writes the Boston Phoenix's Jon Garelick, who picked the album as one of the top 10 releases of 2003, This work is eerie and moving, and even swinging. He appears regularly with the JCA Orchestra, the JCA Sax Quartet, and sometimes with his own group, The Darrell Katz Dreamland Orchestra.