Dave Catney

DAVE CATNEY (1961-1994). Dave Catney was a pianist and jazz musician. He was born in Fairmont on January 7, 1961. He was the son Paul and Delores Catney. Although he composed many of his songs for television and film, Dave Catney is most remembered for his promotion and arrangement of entertainment for nightclubs and the Houston jazz scene. Catney, aged five, moved to Houston with his family. After his family gifted him a homemade instrument, Catney became interested in playing the piano. Catney learned to play the piano and a variety other instruments from an early age. He learned how to read music when he was just six years old. Catney was inspired by Chuck Nolan, his music teacher at Westbury High School when he began his interest in jazz. Catney studied at the University of North Texas, Denton. He also played jazz piano in jazz sessions on campus. Despite playing piano in UNT’s jazz band, Catney was not trained and was therefore never allowed to enter the piano department. Catney received his first formal piano lesson in 1984. Catney spent two weeks in New York and was able take lessons from jazz pros Richie Beirach, Hal Galper, and Joanne Brackeen. Catney later studied with Brian Connelly (a Houston classical pianist). Catney spent nearly a decade playing in hotel lobby and on cruise ships before he could concentrate on the music of choice. Catney began to focus professionally on jazz music after Justice Records offered him a contract as a recording artist in 1990. Justice Records was Houston’s only full-service label in the 1990s. Justice Records was Houston’s only full-service record label in the early 1990s. It signed its own artists and produced, promoted, and distributed its own releases on an ongoing basis. Catney’s debut album First Flight, which was released October 7, 1990, featured Catney on lyrical and straightforward jazz piano and Marc Johnson on bass. Ed Soph played drums. Justice Records released three albums featuring Catney. Jade Visions was published in 1991 and Reality Road in 1994. Catney also managed to book music entertainment at Cezanne in Houston, a small jazz club at the Black Labrador Pub. Catney made the piano bar a hub for Houston’s jazz community, and it was transformed into one the best jazz clubs in America. His health was not good before the release of his third album. Although many of his fans and friends were aware of his struggle with AIDS, Catney asked that his condition not be revealed until the end. The Milt Larkin Jazz Society held a tribute concert to Catney in September 1993 to raise funds to pay his medical bills. Reality Road, a tribute to Catney’s fight with AIDS, was released on April 14, 1994. It featured Catney as a solo pianist. Catney handed the music programming at Cezanne to Ken Ward, a pianist and an attorney in July 1994. Catney, who was thirty-three years old, died from complications of the disease at Twelve Oaks Hospital, Houston. On Monday, August 15, Catney died from complications of the disease at Twelve Oaks Hospital in Houston. A memorial service was held at Wyndham Warwick’s La Fontaine Ballroom. Following that was a jam session at Museum Restaurant in his honor. His siblings, parents, and brothers survived him. The University of North Texas established the Dave Catney Memorial Scholarship Fund in his honor. This fund is open to jazz students and jazz arranging students. from https://tshaonline.org

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