Born December 7, 1955, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Steven Katz began his music career at the age of 12. A self-taught, virtuoso guitarist, Katz’s is known for performing a diverse set of music styles spanning Latin, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Renaissance, Classical, Finger Style, Blues, and Rock. Described as “… a unique stylistic blend of Steve Stevens, Craig Chaquico, Govi, Jesse Cook and Jose Feliciano - with a Caribbean twist...” Katz’s music is reminiscent of influences in his career, Strunz and Farah, Eric Clapton, Tommy Emmanuel, Julian Bream, Eric Johnson, Leo Kottke, Robben Ford, Andy McKee and Ottmar Liebert.
As a composer, performer and producer, Katz has released seven CD’s: Playing With Fire (1991), Speak No Evil (1993) with the award winning band Strictly Taboo; and as a soloist, Crucian Serenade (2001), El Viajero (2004), Dance of the Brujas (2006), 500 Years (2008), Garden of Earthly Delights (2010). His most recent project, a finger style guitar recording, is scheduled for release in 2012.
From age nine Katz knew he wanted to be a musician and pursued it with relentless passion. Mastering his technique without any formal instruction, Katz received his education by going out to watch and listen to many guitar players, figuring out what they were doing and how they did it, then adding his own style and signature to the music. Clarence Smith, a banjo and mandolin player with Louis Armstrong, was a strong influence on Katz, mentoring him in his teenage years about the life of a musician in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Katz left Pennsylvania in 1973; he traveled across the United States to California, then on to Fiji, playing with as many musicians as he could and perfecting his ability to improvise in any music style.
The 1980’s and 1990’s were spent playing in Rock, Blues, Country, and Funk bands, opening for Delbert McClinton, Steppenwolf, Koko Taylor, Edgar Winter, Jack Mack and the Heart Attack, James Harmon Blues Band, Mountain. His band Strictly Taboo enjoyed worldwide acclaim and won numerous awards from the New Mexico Music Industry Coalition, including two “Best Album of the Year” awards in 1991 and 1993.
After 30 years of playing popular rock music, Katz turned to Caribbean, Latin, Mediterranean and Classical music, using music as a way of “healing and making people feel good when they hear it.” After moving to the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1996, his guitar playing and writing reflected the change in his habitat and lifestyle.
Living in the U. S. Virgin Islands has continued to provide Katz a solid career in the music industry. In addition to his solo shows, he has opened for Gato Barbieri, Dr. John, Mavis Staples, Jimmy Thackeray and Deborah Coleman. He performed at the Jazz in the Moonlight Concert Series with the Latin Jazz All Stars, featuring legendary Cuban pianist, Hilario Duran, played concerts with Jonathan Edwards and headlined the Sunset Jazz Festival. He is a highly sought after session guitarist, and can be heard on recordings by American Idol’s Deanna Brown (Traveler 2009, Live at Aqua Sounds 2010, The Plunge 2011), Toussaint the Liberator (Black Gold 2010), Shay (Stay Open 2012), among others.
In 2010, Katz began designing and building acoustic guitars with Luthier Gordon Pritchard on St. Croix. He hand builds a limited number of instruments each year they will be heard on his upcoming album.
For over 4 decades Katz has been a consummate artist and musician, described as “a legend” and his contribution to the music world “noble and virtuous…” For more information on Katz’s life and work, or to inquire about bookings and shows, visit www.stevenkatzmusic.com.
Playing With Fire 1991
Speak No Evil 1993
Crucian Serenade 2001
El Viajero 2004
Dance of the Brujas 2006
500 Years 2008
Garden of Earthly Delights 2010
Artists performed with:
Bobby Keys (Rolling Stones)
Jack Mack and the Heart Attack
James Harmon Blues Band
John Lee Hooker
The Latin Jazz All Stars
Toussaint the Liberator