Marty Paich

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Marty Paich
Birth nameMartin Louis Paich
Born(1925-01-23)23 January 1925
Oakland, California, U.S.
Died12 August 1995(1995-08-12) (aged 70)
Santa Ynez, California, U.S.
Occupation(s)Musician, arranger, composer, conductor, record producer
Associated actsFrank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Mel Tormé, Ray Charles, Art Pepper

Martin Louis Paich (January 23, 1925 – August 12, 1995) was an American pianist, composer, arranger, record producer, music director, and conductor. He came to prominence on the West Coast Jazz scene of the 1950s as both a pianist and a composer. Paich gradually stepped away from performing as a musician to work as a producer, composer, and arranger.

In a career spanning half a century, he worked in these capacities for Ray Charles, Glen Campbell, Neil Diamond, Sammy Davis Jr., Ella Fitzgerald, Rita Moss, Aretha Franklin, Stan Getz, Michael Jackson, Jack Jones, Stan Kenton, Art Pepper, Linda Ronstadt, Frank Sinatra, Spirit, Barbra Streisand, Mel Tormé, Johnny Rivers, and Sarah Vaughan. His son, David, is a founding member of the band Toto.

Early life[edit]

His earliest music lessons were on the accordion, and thereafter on the piano. By the time he was 10 years old, he had formed the first of numerous bands, and by the age of 12 was regularly playing at weddings and similar affairs. Paich first attended Cole Elementary School in Oakland, California. 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.

Professional career[edit]

From the beginning of his professional career, he learned music by transcribing tunes and charts from recordings, attending concerts, and sitting in on jams.

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, Pete Jolly, Anita O'Day, Dave Pell, Art Pepper, Buddy Rich, Shorty Rogers, Dan Terry,[1] 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. His orchestrations for the American band Spirit incorporated use of symphonic arrangements into their albums Spirit, The Family That Plays Together, Model Shop (soundtrack album for the Jacques Demy film of the same name), and Clear. 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 and personal assistant, Charles Barber.


In 1976 Paich did the arrangements for Melanie's album Photograph. He also produced and arranged the Barbra Streisand million-selling single "The Way We Were", which became her first #1 record and also was Billboard's #1 single of 1974.


In 1989, he arranged one of his last projects for Linda Ronstadt, for the pop album, Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind. The sessions were recorded in his native San Francisco Bay Area at Skywalker Sound, with the Skywalker Symphony (Greg Sudmeier and Jeff Beal orchestra coordinators).


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.[2]


As leader[edit]

  • Jazz City Workshop (Bethlehem, 1955)
  • Paich-ence (Fresh Sound/Jazz City, 1955)
  • The Marty Paich Quartet featuring Art Pepper (Tampa, 1956)
  • The Picasso of Big Band Jazz (Candid, 1957)
  • I Get a Boot Out of You (Warner Brothers, 1959)
  • The Broadway Bit (Warner Brothers, 1959)

As arranger[edit]

With Ray Charles

With Hank Crawford

With Maynard Ferguson

With Ella Fitzgerald

With Stan Kenton

With Melanie

With Art Pepper

With Linda Ronstadt

As sideman[edit]

With Shelly Manne

With Shorty Rogers

See also[edit]

List of jazz arrangers


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Martin L. Paich, 70, Conductor-Arranger". The New York Times. 18 August 1995.

External links[edit]