Darrell Katz

After being inspired by the success of other collectives of composers, Darrell Katz, director at the Jazz Composers Alliance helped to create the organization. Katz is originally from Topeka in Kansas and has been living in Boston since 1975. Katz performs regularly with the JCA Orchestra and the JCA Sax Quartet, as well as with his own groups. A Wallflower In The Amazon is Katz’s most recent album (Accurate Records). It features Rebecca Shrimpton (also on Hammond B3) and Mike Finnigan (also both on Hammond B3). Both are also on The Same Thing, which was released in 2008. Fred Ho, a baritone saxophonist/composer, is also on it. He is also one of six composers featured on the 2013 JCA Orchestra release Stories (Cadence). Katz has composed two improvisational cantatas, one for Rebecca Shrimpton, and the JCA Orchestra. The Death Of Simone Weil is a setting from Paula Tatarunis’ narrative poem. Wheelworks will be released in 2014. It features quotations by Albert Einstein. His style is diverse: he’s proven adept at writing for both classical musicians and blues singers. Katz is an experienced and skilled orchestrator. He is adept at creating lyrical, rich melodies and matching music to text. He is a firm believer in notated music but is willing to let go of all that and allow the creative potential of modern improvisers to shine, either in a completely unstructured fashion or with different types of conductor and/or composer controlled improvisation. He said that he was most pleased to see creative musicians free to use the path that he had opened for them. The JCA was founded in 1985 and has featured such notable jazz composers/performers like Julius Hemphill (Fred Ho), Muhal Richard Abrams (Muhal Richard Abrams), Steve Lacy, Steve Lacy. Katz’s music is available on all 9 Jazz Composers Alliance Orchestra CDs. Kayle Brecher, Janet Planet also have Katz’s music. Darrell was awarded the Massachusetts Artist Fellowship in composition, three Massachusetts Artist Fellowship finalist grants, a Jazz Fellowship Grant by the NEA, grants from Meet The Composer and The Aaron Copland Fund, The New England Foundation For The Arts and the Artists Foundation. He also received grants from The National Association of Jazz Educators, The New England Foundation For The Arts and the Artists Foundation. Over 70 compositions have been written for the jazz orchestra. The JCA Orchestra, The Henry Threadgill Windstring Ensemble and The BMI Jazz Composers Workshop Orchestra have performed jazz music, as has Orange Then Blue and Marimolin. His music is in the books of many college big bands, including BU, Harvard and NEC. Katz was also the founder of the Julius Hemphill composition awards (1991-2001), which received 240 compositions from 28 countries. Darrell holds a Master of Music degree from the New England Conservatory and a Bachelor of Music degree from Berklee College of Music. He has been a Berklee College of Music faculty member since 1989.

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