I was saddened to learn on the road that Buddy Catlett died yesterday. I remember him looking as he does in this photograph made around the time we were both involved in Seattle’s vibrant jazz community in the early-to-mid 1950s. He left town to work with a variety of large and small bands. By the end of the decade Buddy had joined the big band his childhood friend Quincy Jones took to Europe that also included Seattleites Floyd Standifer and Patti Bown. For an obituary, read the Seattle Times article by Paul de Barros, the leading chronicler of Seattle’s rich jazz history.
Buddy solos on Thelonious Monk’s “Straight No Chaser” with a combo from the Jones band in 1959. His companions are Phil Woods, alto saxophone; Clark Terry, trumpet; Patti Bown, piano; Quentin Jackson, trombone; Sahib Shihab, flute; and Joe Harris, drums.
Jim Wilke of Jazz After Hours fame will make his Jazz Northwest broadcast on Sunday a tribute to Buddy. Here is Jim’s announcement.
Jazz Northwest will remember him with several unpublished recordings of the Local 493 Reunion Band on Sunday, November 16 at 2 PM Pacific on 88.5 KPLU and kplu.org. The group included veterans of the Black musicians union Local 493 in the years before it merged with the white musicians union Local 76.
The recordings of the Local 493 Reunion Band date from the 90s and include Buddy Catlett, Floyd Standifer, Jabbo Ward, Billy Wallace, and guests, Ed Lee, Freddie Greenwell, Brian Nova, Jack Perciful and others. Some have been broadcast once before, but none has been issued on commercial recordings.
Quincy Jones wrote: ‘RIP to my brother and bandmate Buddy Catlett, one of the greatest bass players to ever take the stage. From Charlie Taylor’s and Bumps Blackwell’s bands when we were starting out in Seattle to my Free and Easy tour of Europe, we traveled the world playing the music we love. A lot of notes, a lot of laughs, a lot of great memories. We will all miss you Buddy, but you will live on in our hearts.’
Jazz Northwest is recorded and produced by Jim Wilke exclusively for 88.5 KPLU and kplu.org. The program is also available as a podcast at kplu.org following the broadcast.
Buddy Catlett, RIP.