Buddy Catlett featured today on KPLU’s Jazz Northwest

Buddy Catlett, a much-revered pillar of the Seattle Jazz community died last Wednesday at the age of 81. Buddy Catlett was a contemporary of Ray Charles, Quincy Jones and Ernestine Anderson and had an international career, touring and recording with Quincy Jones, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong and many others. Jazz Northwest will remember him with several unpublished recordings of the Local 493 Reunion Band on Sunday, November 16 at 2 PM Pacific on 88.5 KPLU and kplu.org.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.

Preview the episode:

Buddy Catlett, Seattle jazz legend, dies

Note: Make sure and pick up a copy of Saturday’s print edition of The Seattle Times for obituary on Buddy Catlett

From The Seattle Times:

George James “Buddy” Catlett, one of the most illustrious musicians to come up on Seattle’s Jackson Street jazz scene of the 1940s, died Wednesday, Nov. 12. Catlett was 81. He had been living at the Leon Sullivan Health Care Center in Seattle’s Central District and had not performed for some time.

Best known as a swinging, “in the pocket” bassist with a muscular, full-bodied sound, Mr. Catlett anchored the bands of  Count Basie, Quincy Jones and Louis Armstrong for long stints, recording with them, as well.

Born in Long Beach, Pacific County, Mr. Catlett grew up in Seattle and came from a family of black pioneers that traces its history back to the early 1900s. The diminutive, rotund musician —  nicknamed “Bumblebee” by his friends — attended Garfield High School and started out on alto saxophone, which he played with Jones in a band led by their classmate, Charles Taylor. However, in 1950, the young sax man was struck with pleurisy, which his doctor feared was tuberculosis, so he was advised to stop playing a wind instrument. This led to his taking up the bass fiddle.

After “paying his dues” in local bands led by trumpeter Floyd Standifer and others, Catlett left town in 1956 to join Horace Henderson (Fletcher Henderson’s brother). Mr. Catlett subsequently worked with guitarist Johnny Smith and Latin vibraphonist Cal Tjader. In 1959, the bassist’s former classmate Jones hired Mr. Catlett in a new big band, which Jones took to Europe as part of a musical called “Free and Easy,” starring Sammy Davis Jr. The show folded after a few performances, but the band — which also featured Standifer and Seattle pianist Patti Bown — stayed in Europe for eight months.

Jones’ big band — legendary in the annals of modern jazz and rivaled at the time by only Basie and Ellington – was economically unsustainable, but it nevertheless recorded highly-regarded albums, notably “Birth of a Band.” With Basie, Mr. Catlett also recorded a classic album with Frank Sinatra, “With Rose Colored Glasses,” and subsequently worked with pianists Red Garland and JuniorMance, drummer Chico Hamilton and saxophonists Coleman Hawkins,  Johnny Griffin and Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis.

In the late ’60s, Mr. Catlett was hired by Armstrong, with whom he played, recorded and toured until 1969.

Throughout his early life and middle age, Mr. Catlett struggled with alcohol. In the ’70s, when jazz work became scarce, he dropped out of music for a while, and decided to come back to Seattle to recover. Gradually, he re-entered the jazz world on the home front, becoming an important part of the local scene, working at now-defunct clubs such as the New Orleans Restaurant and Lofurno’s, where national figures from his days on the road, such as Clark Terry and Jones, would regularly drop by. His accomplishments were celebrated by the Seattle jazz non-profit Earshot Jazz when it inducted Mr. Catlett into the Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame, in 1991.

Remembering Dee Dee Rainbow

from The Seattle Times:

A longtime presence at Seattle jazz events, Dee Dee Rainbow has died

Dee Dee Rainbow, known to jazz fans for her rainbow parasol, multi-colored eye-glitter and exuberant good cheer at pretty much any jazz event that happened within 500 miles of Seattle, died Tuesday. She was 81. Rainbow was an art teacher for 30 years at Meany Middle School — her students reportedly suggested “Rainbow” as her last name, which she adopted legally — but was known for her great love of jazz. At the Monterey Jazz Festival, she started leading a New Orleans style parade down the aisle on Saturday afternoons, a tradition still going on this year, though with only a few folks.

More to come.

We have seen some comments on Facebook:

Greg Williamson:
Sad to hear of the passing of superstar jazz fan and artist, Dee Dee Rainbow. She brought lots of smiles, and made lots of performers feel like their contributions meant something. She will be missed.

Thomas Marriott:
… there was a time where you couldn’t hear live jazz in Seattle without running into Ms Rainbow. I traveled to Europe with her once and recall that she had her own rainbow coffee cup at breakfast every morning, her own rainbow bed-spread and curtains that she unpacked in every hotel room. There are so few real individuals / characters on the scene anymore, which is what makes Ms Rainbow’s passing all the more sad. She was a happy mystery to just about everyone – extremely outgoing and private at the same time. Both down to earth and impossibly “out there” as well. A sweet and kind person with an intense love for music and musicians. Pretty much all that anyone knew about her is published in her obituary. But anyone who ever met her knew they had a friend in Dee Dee. Thanks for all the rainbow blessings Dee Dee!

Jim Wilke:
It was always an “official” jazz event when Dee Dee showed up and blessed us with her wand.

Feel free to post your comments here.

Kim Rushing Memorial set for November 24

Kim-RushingVocalist Kim Rushing’s memorial will take place on Sunday, November 24, at Tula’s Jazz Club from 4:00 – 7:00pm.

The event is planned as a “musical celebration of Kim’s life” and will feature music by Kelley Johnson and Andy Shaw with John Hansen, Phil Sparks, Robert Rushing. The will likely be many of Kim’s friends sitting in.

Suggested donations and notes will benefit the family; no cover.

Sunday, November 24 – 4:00 – 7:00pm
2214 Second Ave
Seattle, WA
(206) 443-4221

Kim Rushing, jazz vocalist

Kim-RushingSeattle jazz vocalist Kim Rushing, who earlier this year was diagnosed with Granulomatosis Polyarteris, a rare autoimmune disorder (formerly known as Wegener’s Disease), passed away on Saturday, October 19.

Word came from her husband, drummer Robert Rushing, via a post on Facebook and Kim’s fundraiser site to help defray the costs of treatment.

Hello friends, This is Kim’s husband Robert with the saddest possible news. On Saturday October 19th, Kim passed away of pneumonia and septic shock. Of course we are devastated at her sudden and unexpected death. It is incomprehensible to us. She had so much life left to live. Kim was my best friend and love of my life for 29 years, and the loving mother of our beautiful child. We will miss her terribly. She appreciated her friendships, musical brothers and sisters, and family tremendously. She was so grateful for all the caring and generosity shown to her during her difficult illness. This site will be closed down in several weeks. Thank you all so much for your support over these last few months.

We will have more news as it becomes available. If you care to make a donation to the Rushing Family, visit the GoFundMe page for Kim Rushing. You can also listen to Kim’s music here.