Marty Paich

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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. Marty 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, Neil Diamond, Sammy Davis Jr., Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Stan Getz, Michael Jackson, Jack Jones, Stan Kenton, Art Pepper, Linda Ronstadt, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Mel Tormé, and Sarah Vaughan. His son, David, is a founding member of the band Toto.

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.

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