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Marty Paich
Birth name Martin Louis Paich
Born January 23, 1925(1925-01-23)
Origin Oakland, California, U.S.
Died August 12, 1995 (aged 70)
Occupations Pianist, composer, arranger, producer, music director and conductor
Instruments Piano, Accordion

Martin Louis "Marty" Paich (b. January 23, 1925, Oakland, California – d. August 12, 1995, Santa Ynez, California) was an American pianist, composer, arranger, producer, music director and conductor.

In a career which spanned half a century, he worked in these capacities for such artists as Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Sarah Vaughan, Stan Kenton, Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Tormé, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Linda Ronstadt, Jack Jones, Neil Diamond, Stan Getz, Sammy Davis Jr, Michael Jackson, Art Pepper, Ethel Azama, and a hundred others.

However, his name is essentially unknown outside professional circles. He took little interest in self-promotion, never acquired a personal agent, happily saw his business affairs managed by his capable first wife, Huddy, and as soon as finances permitted decamped Los Angeles for a ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley north of Santa Barbara. There, he engaged his twin fantasies of riding horses and operating a private museum devoted to the saddles, books, rifles and guns of the American west. For a boy raised in urban Oakland California, this was a charmed leap.

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Early life

His earliest music lessons were on the accordion, and thereafter on the piano. By age 10, he had formed the first of numerous bands, and by age 12 was regularly playing at weddings and similar affairs. Paich first attended Cole Elementary School in Oakland. After graduating from McClymonds High School, he attended a series of professional schools in music, including Chapman College, San Francisco State University, the University of Southern California, and the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music, where he graduated in 1951 magna cum laude with a Master's degree in composition.

His private teachers included Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (studying in his home at 269 South Clark, in Beverly Hills) and Arnold Schoenberg. The Gary Nottingham Orchestra provided his earliest paying work as arranger; together with Pete Rugolo he wrote some of that band's best-known charts. Paich served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, there leading various bands and orchestras and helping build troop morale.

Professional career

From the beginning of his professional career, he also learned music in the time-honored ways: he transcribed countless tunes and charts from recordings, he attended innumerable concerts, and he sat-in on a thousand jams. And from the beginning, Paich had an extraordinary ear for style, and tremendously eclectic taste. These gifts would serve him well in his career and provide the opportunity to work in an amazingly large circle of musicians.

After finishing his formal studies, Paich took a series of jobs in the Los Angeles music and recording industry. These included arranging (and playing) the score for the Disney Studio's full length animated film Lady and the Tramp, working as accompanist for vocalist Peggy Lee, playing piano for Shorty Rogers' Giants, touring with Dorothy Dandridge, and providing arrangements for many local bands in Los Angeles.

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1950s

During the 1950s, Paich was active in West coast jazz performance while also working intensively in the studios. He not only played on, but arranged and produced, numerous West Coast jazz recordings, including albums by Ray Brown, Ella Fitzgerald, Terry Gibbs, Stan Kenton, Shelly Manne, Anita O'Day, Dave Pell, Art Pepper, Buddy Rich, Shorty Rogers and Mel Tormé. His professional and personal association with Tormé, though occasionally a difficult one, would last decades. Many jazz critics feel their work with the Marty Paich Dektette to be the high point of their respective careers.

1960s

In the 1960s, he became more active in commercial music, and extended his talents to include work for such pop musicians as Andy Williams, Al Hirt, Dinah Shore, Jack Jones and others of that style. From the late 1960s into the mid-1970s, Paich was the studio orchestra leader for such television variety shows as The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (where he replaced Nelson Riddle), and The Sonny and Cher Show. He also scored such television programs as Ironside, for which he won an Emmy Award.[1] At this time, he began serving as teacher and life-long mentor to his son, David Paich, soon to make his own reputation with the band Toto, and to become a distinguished musician in his own right.

1980s to 1990s

Paich's work in the 1980s to 1990s built on his long-standing reputation as an artist of wide stylistic gifts, particularly in scoring for strings (he was often hired to 'sweeten' the work of other arrangers), and he received calls to work for musicians ranging from Barbra Streisand to Michael Jackson. During the same period, he became active in film, often working as conductor (and on-site arranger) in a number of well-received studio projects. In 1984, he conducted the Vienna Symphony Orchestra's recording of the Dune soundtrack composed by Toto. Paich's other film work, usually scored by his student James Newton Howard, included Flatliners, For The Boys, Grand Canyon, The Package, Pretty Woman and Prince of Tides.

In 1991, he was honored at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion by Singers' Salute to the Songwriter, Inc., and there received the title 'Songwriter of the Year'. He also led the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl in what would be one of Sarah Vaughan's last public appearances. In this latter period, he announced a semi-retirement to his beloved ranch on Baseline Road in Santa Ynez. From this domain, he worked on occasional projects, the last of which was with Aretha Franklin.

Death

He died of colon cancer on August 12, 1995, aged 70, at his home in California. He was survived by his brother Tom, second wife Linda and his children, Lorrie (Cohen) and David Paich.

Legacy

In June 2006, the website martypaich.com was created by Paich's estate. It will include a catalogue of his 2000-item worklist. It presently incorporates a biography, recordings lists, photographs, and critical commentary. This site's documentation is the primary source of reference material for the article above.

External links


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