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Bassist Buddy Catlett, a Seattle Native, Brings Jazz Home

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Buddy Catlett He's performed with the greats, like Frank, Ella and Louis Armstrong

During the 1940s, bassist George James “Buddy" Catlett roamed the streets of Seattle as a teenager, performing with such future luminaries as trumpeter Quincy Jones and pianist Ray Charles.

“Seattle was one of the hottest cities in America," Jones said, adding that he and Catlett often performed three clubs a night together, finishing up around 5:30 a.m. and attending Garfield High School a few hours later.

Over the course of his career, Catlett has performed with such musical greats as Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald. He also performed on the often-heard Quincy Jones arrangement of “Fly Me to the Moon" with Frank Sinatra and Count Basie, and on Louis Armstrong's “What a Wonderful World."

“He's very well-known all over the nation and all over the world because he's on recordings with some of the greatest musicians that have ever lived," said Clarence Acox, drummer and Garfield High School band director.

“Buddy has by far the largest resume and has performed on some of the most influential, biggest songs in modern pop and jazz," added guitarist Brian Nova, who has been performing with Catlett at various venues locally and around the globe for the past 25 years.

“Musically, he's the master," said drummer Patty Padden, who also has performed with Catlett off and on for 25 years. “It's an honor to play with him every time."


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