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Re-release: Folk Songs for Far Out Folk, Jun 26, 2007


West Coast Jazz with Stops in Africa, Brooklyn and the Kabbalah Plus Communism and Star Wars

Reboot Stereophonic, the acclaimed non-profit record label committed to recovering lost music and the stories connected to them from attics across America is proud to announce the July 10 release of its fifth album, a long coveted 1959 gem, FOLK SONGS FOR FAR OUT FOLK 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, now 86, 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!"

From the American folk tradition he chose "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child," "Been in the Pen So Long," "Foggy Foggy Dew," and "Old Paint" which Katz says he "treated as sort of an erotic thing." From the African songbook he went with "Chili'lo," "Manthi-ki," and "Mate'ka," and from the Hebrew side "Baal Shem Tov" and "Rav's Nigun."

FOLK SONGS FOR FAR OUT FOLK was produced by pedal steel guitar pioneer and famed bandleader Alvino Rey and recorded in 1958 during three separate sessions in Hollywood, one for each set of folk songs. Each session also had its own set of musicians, an impressive list of 50s jazz stalwarts hand-picked by Katz. The American songs include jazz guitar great Billy Bean and on piano, Johnny T. Williams, better known nowadays as Hollywood film composer and Oscar mainstay John Williams (Star Wars, Jaws, Schindler's List). The Hebrew sessions featured the flutes and saxophones of Buddy Collette and Paul Horn, Katz's esteemed Los Angeles colleagues from the Chico Hamilton Quintet, and the African songs include appearances by bongo king Jack Costanzo and trumpeters Pete Candoli (alum of the Woody Herman and Stan Kenton bands) and Irving Goodman (brother of Benny).

After Reboot Stereophonic co-founder Josh Kun first heard the original LP a few years ago, the team began searching for Katz. Kun headed south from L.A. to Katz's home in Fullerton for a series of long visits in the fall of 2006. "He is an inspiration as a musician, an intellectual, and a human being," says Kun. "Spending time with Fred, hearing his stories, listening to him play his cello, learning about his life, only made Folk Songs that much more powerful, a true testament to his boundless creativity as an artist. I'm so honored that we're able to make this music available again."

The project is the fifth release by Reboot Stereophonic following the critically acclaimed re-issue of the 1959 Latin-Jewish hybrid, BAGELS AND BONGOS by 92-year-old IRVING FIELDS, GOD IS A MOOG by moog pioneer, Gershon Kingsley, and the JEWFACE collection, the world's first and only anthology of Jewish minstrel songs that took vaudeville stages by storm at the turn of the 20th century. The label is an outgrowth of a fast growing national network called Reboot which engages some of the most talented young creatives in the music, film, television, technology, politics, literature and media realms in the examination of generational changes in identity, community and meaning.

Reboot Stereophonic, which is releasing a series of titles based upon music found in archives and buried in thrift store dustbins, has been developed as a work of passion by an eclectic team of music industry tastemakers, volunteers all, led by Courtney Holt at MTV, David Katznelson at Birdman, USC writer/academic Josh Kun, and Roger Bennett, co-founder of Reboot.