Jazz star Fred Katz has died at the age of 94.

The musician, who helped popularise the use of cellos in jazz music, passed away last Saturday (07Sep13) in Santa Monica, California, according to the New York Times.

Katz was a classically trained cellist before he joined Chico Hamilton's jazz quintet as a pianist in the 1950s and he helped introduce the instrument in the band's music.

During his time in the group, he appeared with them in 1957 movie The Sweet Smell of Success, starring Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis, while he also went on to work as a conductor and a music arranger, notably on Carmen MCRae's 1958 album Carmen For Cool Ones.

Katz also wrote scores for films including 1960's The Little Shop of Horrors.