#1 Selling Saxman Frank Catalano, Keeping Real Jazz Alive

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Downbeat Magazine calls Frank Catalano, “John Coltrane energy for the 21st Century.” Catalano’s recent recordings have reached #1 on the Billboard and iTunes Jazz Charts. Catalano is a patented inventor, a published author and the Music Ambassador for Drambuie Liqueur.

Frank Catalano has embraced all types of music during his whirlwind career. Whether performing with Seal on Oprah Winfrey’s TV show, Soloing on a track for John Legend or arranging a string quartet, Catalano has done it all. His passion and latest focus is quite clear: Real Jazz.

His most recent album “Bye, Bye, Blackbird” is a tribute to two of his mentors, Eddie Harris and Von Freeman. Both are true Jazz Legends, and Catalano says they were both so great to him while he was growing up in Chicago’s Jazz Scene.

Almost 20 years ago, he recorded an album with Von Freeman for Delmark records. That was while he attended DePaul University, and since then, he’s done a lot of interesting things. Talking about the back-to-classic project he’s working on now, Catalano says “I really wanted to do a more traditional album than I had done since my Delmark days.”

The Frank Catalano Band live at the legendary Green Mill jazz club.
The Frank Catalano Band live at the legendary Green Mill jazz club.

Here’s what he says about the new “Bye, Bye, Blackbird” album:

“The essence of jazz is exploration. I feel that in modern times, there are so many new ways to record, listen and experience music … so, for me, returning to a more classic approach with a modern twist just feels right. I also think performing with musicians with different backgrounds and history makes Jazz more exciting than the type of jazz that is currently being ‘mass produced’ at music universities.”

And about the chemistry that makes “Bye, Bye, Blackbird” special:

“My friend and longtime drummer for The Smashing Pumpkins, Jimmy Chamberlin, always brings a rock edge to our music while being very well versed in the history of Jazz. I was so happy David Sanborn was up for playing on ‘Bye, Bye, Blackbird.’ He is best known as a contemporary saxophonist performing with the likes of Stevie Wonder and Eric Clapton but his feel and knowledge of traditional jazz is second to none. I think it’s the chemistry and love for the music we share that has won over so many new fans for us even though Real Jazz doesn’t get much mainstream press.”

Frank Catalano has been working with Scotch Liqueur Drambuie as Music Ambassador.

He says “I was particularly honored when the legendary Scotch Liqueur Drambuie asked if I would team up with them. They wanted me to present my music in mainstream settings and also for people that aren’t necessarily jazz fans. It’s so cool!!!”

What’s so really special about this gig is that it is a huge opportunity to reach different audiences through rejuvenatiing and reinterpreting old standards.

“The media campaign I’m a featured part of is called ‘Modern Classics.’ It plays on the idea of reinvention and rejuvenation much in the same way a jazz musician would modernize or reinterpret a standard from the Cole Porter or Gershwin songbook. All of these opportunities to perform jazz for non-jazz audiences shows me that the future of jazz is very bright.”

Catalano says he’s really excited to find new and interesting ways to keep jazz alive and well in the 21st Century.

After listening to “Bye, Bye, Blackbird,” I can say jazz is definitely alive and well in the 21st Century. It was so good, my old Maine Coon cat sat up straight, looking at the speakers and started purring!

bye bye blackbird cd cover.
Bye Bye Blackbird CD cover.

Appearing on Bye, Bye, Blackbird

Frank Catalano – Tenor Saxophone
Jimmy Chamberlin – Drums
David Sanborn – Alto Saxophone (Tracks 2 & 3)
Nir Felder – Guitar
Demos Petropoulos – Hammond B3 Orga

Bye Bye Blackbird

More About Frank Catalano

Learn more about Frank Catalano and his music on his website, Catalanomusic.com
and sample some of the amazing tracks on Bandcamp: frankcatalano.bandcamp.com.
Catalano is a Ropeadope Recording Artist, a Columbia Records Producer, and a Yamaha, D’Addario, and JodyJazz Clinician.

Alan Gray is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of NewsBlaze Daily News and other online newspapers. He prefers to edit, rather than write, but sometimes an issue rears it’s head and makes him start pounding the keyboard. Alan has a fascination with making video and video editing, so watch out if he points his Canon 7d in your direction.