|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (December 2009)|
|Birth name||Martin Louis Paich|
January 23, 1925|
|Died||August 12, 1995
Santa Ynez, California
|Occupations||Pianist, composer, arranger, producer, music director and conductor|
In a career which spanned half a century, he worked in these capacities for such artists as Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Sarah Vaughan, Stan Kenton, Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Tormé, Ray Charles, Johnny Rivers, Aretha Franklin, Linda Ronstadt, Al Hirt, Jack Jones, Neil Diamond, Stan Getz, Sammy Davis Jr, Michael Jackson, Art Pepper, Ethel Azama, Mahalia Jackson, Toto (his son David is a longtime member of that band), and many others.
His earliest music lessons were on the accordion, and thereafter on the piano. By age 10, he had formed the first of numerous bands, and by age 12 was regularly playing at weddings and similar affairs. Paich first attended Cole Elementary School in Oakland. After graduating from McClymonds High School, he attended a series of professional schools in music, including Chapman College, San Francisco State University, the University of Southern California, and the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music, where he graduated in 1951 magna cum laude with a Master's degree in composition.
His private teachers included Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (studying in his home at 269 South Clark Drive in Beverly Hills) and Arnold Schoenberg. The Gary Nottingham Orchestra provided his earliest paying work as arranger; together with Pete Rugolo he wrote some of that band's best-known charts. Paich served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, there leading various bands and orchestras and helping build troop morale.
From the beginning of his professional career, he also learned music in the time-honored ways: he transcribed countless tunes and charts from recordings, he attended innumerable concerts, and he sat-in on a thousand jams. And from the beginning, Paich had an extraordinary ear for style, and tremendously eclectic taste. These gifts would serve him well in his career and provide the opportunity to work in an amazingly large circle of musicians.
After finishing his formal studies, Paich took a series of jobs in the Los Angeles music and recording industry. These included arranging (and playing) the score for the Disney Studio's full length animated film Lady and the Tramp, working as accompanist for vocalist Peggy Lee, playing piano for Shorty Rogers' Giants, touring with Dorothy Dandridge, and providing arrangements for many local bands in Los Angeles.
During the 1950s, Paich was active in West coast jazz performance while also working intensively in the studios. He not only played on, but arranged and produced, numerous West Coast jazz recordings, including albums by Ray Brown, Ella Fitzgerald, Terry Gibbs, Stan Kenton, Shelly Manne, Anita O'Day, Dave Pell, Art Pepper, Buddy Rich, Shorty Rogers, Toni Harper and Mel Tormé. His professional and personal association with Tormé, though occasionally a difficult one, would last decades. Many jazz critics feel their work with the Marty Paich Dektette to be the high point of their respective careers.
In the 1960s, he became more active in commercial music, and extended his talents to include work for such pop musicians as Andy Williams, Al Hirt, Dinah Shore, and Jack Jones. From the late 1960s into the mid-1970s, Paich was the studio orchestra leader for such television variety shows as The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (where he replaced Nelson Riddle), and The Sonny and Cher Show. He also scored such television programs as Ironside, for which he won an Emmy Award. At this time, he began serving as teacher and lifelong mentor to his son, David Paich, soon to make his own reputation with the band Toto, and to become a distinguished musician in his own right. In the late part of his career, his students included the film composer James Newton Howard and the conductor Charles Barber.
Paich died of colon cancer on August 12, 1995, aged 70, at his home on Baseline Road in Santa Ynez, California. He was survived by his brother Tom, second wife Linda and his children, Lorrie (Cohen) and David Paich.