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Gearhead: The Moonlighting Jimmy Katz

How an ace jazz photographer became an ace recording engineer

Jimmy Katz and Lage Lund during a remote session in Brooklyn

The most prodigious “doubler” in jazz may not be a musician. Many players are proficient on more than one instrument, but Jimmy Katz is the only jazz photographer who moonlights as a recording engineer. And he has world-class chops in both art forms.

In the jazz world, Katz’s photographs are hard to miss. Over the past 20 years his images have been featured in the packaging of more than 300 albums, and he has shot more than 120 magazine covers, including many for JazzTimes. Five years ago he began working as an engineer, specializing in live recordings in New York clubs. He has done many of the albums on the SmallsLIVE label, in addition to recordings of the Frank Kimbrough Trio (Live at Kitano, Palmetto), Miles Okazaki at the Jazz Gallery (Figurations, Sunnyside) and the Lage Lund Trio at the Bar Next Door (Small Club, Big City, TuneCore, download only).

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Originally Published

Thomas Conrad

Thomas Conrad has a BA from the University of Utah and an MA from the University of Iowa (where he attended the Writers Workshop). He taught English at Central State University in Ohio, then left the academic world for the private sector. His affiliation with publications such as JazzTimes, Stereophile, The New York City Jazz Record and DownBeat has enabled him to sustain active involvement in two of his passions: music and writing.