Marty Paich

Birth name Martin Louis Paich
Born 23 January 1925
Oakland, California, U.S.

Died 12 August 1995 (aged 70)
Santa Ynez, California, U.S.
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician, arranger, composer, conductor, record producer
Instruments Piano

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, 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.

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.

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 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.


As leader

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

With Ray Charles

Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music (ABC Paramount, 1962)
With Hank Crawford

Soul of the Ballad (Atlantic, 1963)
With Maynard Ferguson

Maynard ’61 (Roulette, 1961)
With Ella Fitzgerald

Whisper Not (Verve, 1967)
Ella Swings Lightly (Verve, 1958)
With Stan Kenton

Back to Balboa (Capitol, 1958)
With Art Pepper

Art Pepper + Eleven – Modern Jazz Classics (Contemporary, 1959)
As sideman[edit]
With Shelly Manne

The West Coast Sound (Contemporary, 1955)
With Shorty Rogers

Cool and Crazy (RCA Victor, 1953)
Shorty Rogers Courts the Count (RCA Victor, 1954)