One of the best-known arrangers of the post-World War II era, Marty Paich had much stronger jazz credentials than many of his peers, thanks to his active presence on the West Coast scene during the '50s.
Paich was born in Oakland, CA, on January 23, 1925; he started out as a pianist, and was performing professionally at age 16. Along with the up-and-coming Pete Rugolo, he wrote arrangements for local bandleader Gary Nottingham. Tapped for military service in 1943, he continued to arrange while serving as the leader of the Army Air Corps band through 1946.
Following his discharge, he used the G.I. Bill to further his musical education, enrolling at UCLA to study arranging under Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (who also helped train Nelson Riddle). He earned a master's degree from the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music in 1951, and quickly found work in the industry as both an arranger and pianist, working with Jerry Gray and Dan Terry early on.
Paich soon graduated to higher-profile gigs, playing and arranging for Shelly Manne and Shorty Rogers (the latter on the big-band album Cool and Crazy) over 1953-1954, and also serving a stint as Peggy Lee's accompanist and musical director.
He led his own groups as well, and in 1955 he began recording for a succession of labels that included Mode, Tampa, Candid (The Picasso of Big Band Jazz), Warner (I Get a Boot Out of You), and RCA Victor. He also toured with Dorothy Dandridge, and arranged (and performed on) the soundtrack to the Disney film Lady and the Tramp (1955).