Folk Songs For Far Out Folk is the long-coveted 1959 gem from the eclectic jazz pioneer, Kabbalist, magic man, and eternal left-winger Fred Katz. Katz is best known for introducing cello to jazz, which he perfected in the 1950s with his famous stint with west coast jazz legends, the Chico Hamilton Quintet.
Katz has had an extraordinary career, from his early days as a cello student of Pablo Casals to his work in Hollywood scoring Roger Corman films like Little Shop of Horrors and A Bucket of Blood, from his anti-Vietnam War piece for solo cello “The Soldier Puppet” to his late 50’s stint as an A&R man for Decca Records where he created the experimental Jazz Moods series; from solo jazz cello albums like Fred Katz and His Jammers to his conducting jazz arrangements for Sidney Poitier (the forgotten Sidney Poitier Reads Plato) and Harpo Marx (the almost forgotten Harpo in Hi-Fi) and his 1980s stint teaching jazz in a Benedictine monastery with a bongo-playing nun and a sax-playing priest.
Folk Songs For Far Out Folk is a musical triptych of orchestrated jazz based on Hebraic, African, and American folk songs. “Those were the three cultures that were most important to me at the time,” Katz says. “The American culture I was very interested in but mostly as a radical guy who had to learn about folk music and protest songs. And the African element just followed because of my belief in the oneness of man. The reason for the Jewish stuff was the mystery. It’s impossible to ever know what God is. The trillion-faced God!”
Manthi-Ki by Fred Katz