Chicago's Frank Catalano is a soulful jazz saxophonist who has garnered attention as a sought-after session player, touring musician, and bandleader. Playing tenor saxophone since the age of eight, Catalano sharpened his playing skills as a student at DePaul University and launched his professional music career while still a teenager. After playing with jazz drummer Louis Bellson and avant-garde jazz organist Charles Earland in 1991, he accepted an invitation to join pop vocalist Tony Bennett's group. In addition to Bennett, Catalano has performed and/or recorded with a bevy of names including Clark Terry, Johnny "Hammond" Smith, Kenny Loggins, Jimmy McGriff, Randy Brecker, and Arturo Sandoval.
Catalano has increasingly drawn attention for his own talents. His debut solo album, Cut It Out, released in February 1988, was included on lists of the year's best mainstream albums compiled by Jazz Times, Los Angeles Weekly, and The Chicago Tribune. His second effort, Pins 'n' Needles, featured accompaniment by trumpeter/flügelhornist Randy Brecker, pianist Willie Pickens, bassist Larry Gray, and drummer Joel Spencer. He continues to perform with his own quartet, featuring guitarist Kirk Hunter, Hammond B-3 organist Vijay Tellis-Nayak, and drummer Dan Leali, as well as with John Burnett & His Orchestra and Lenny King's Chicago Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra.
In 2001, he joined vocalist Peter Oprisko for Ring-A-Ding Romance!: Peter Oprisko Sings! Saxophonist Frank Catalano Plays! He also released the concert album Live at the Green Mill that year. In 2005, Catalano returned with the studio album Mighty Burner, followed two years later by Bang! In 2016, he paired with saxophonist David Sanborn and Smashing Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin for Bye Bye Blackbird: Blowing in from Chicago for Von and Eddie. ~ Craig Harris