Frank Catalano recently finished a successful tour of the United States, France, England and Japan and he has been releasing them as a series of live recordings on Ropeadope Records. His Savoy/Columbia recording “Bang!” debuted at #12 on the Billboard Jazz Charts. Frank’s recording, “Mighty Burner” was on the Billboard Charts for twenty straight weeks. Now forty years old, Mr. Catalano is the only known saxman to have performed with Miles Davis, Randy Brecker, Charles Earland, Elvin Jones, Stan Getz, Betty Carter, Von Freeman, Tito Puente, Tony Bennett, Les Claypool and Louis Bellson while still in high school! This led to his signing to Delmark Records at age 18 and a string of critically acclaimed recordings. He has been heard by millions of people all over the world thanks in part to three Grammy-winning and eleven Grammy-nominated recordings with a wide variety of artists such as Jennifer Lopez, Destiny’s Child, and John Legend. He has also performed live on the Oprah Winfrey TV show with singer/composer Seal.
No stranger to adversity, Frank cut off his right middle finger in an automobile accident. After several surgeries and much effort, he relearned his signature technique, making him one of the most in-demand musicians today and regularly donates his musical services to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
Also an entrepreneur, he has patented a devise that allows him to control his saxophone via midi components. Yamaha acquired the patent rights and in 2007 they received a Special Merit Grammy Award for Technical Achievement.
I had the pleasure of catching up with this man of many talents ahead of his October 6th show at Arts & Literature Laboratory in Madison. We spoke about who will be performing with him to round out the evening’s quartet, and just what kinds of sounds and grooves to expect. We reflect on what it is that allows Frank to be able and moreover, willing to play with all different kinds of musicians creating all kinds of different art. This is the part of the conversation that really had me diggin’ the person I was speaking to as it made me feel like he is ready to be ready at any time and that is what makes the moments of music fascinating for the creators, and sharers. We find out who he would share over the air on greenarrowradio for 30 min….err…we bumped it up to all three hours since the choices were so damn solid.