Stan Getz

Stan Getz (Stanley Gayetzky; February 2, 1927 Philadelphia, June 6, 1991 Malibu), was an American jazz tenor-saxophone player. Because of his warm and lyrical tone, Getz is known as “The Sound”. His main influence was Lester Young’s wispy, mellow tone. His parents were Ukrainian Jews, who immigrated from Kiev, Ukraine in 1903. For better jobs, the family moved to New York City later. Stan did a lot of hard work in school and received straight A’s on average. He was also close to the top in his class when he finished sixth grade. Stan was a musician and had a strong interest in music. Before his father purchased his first saxophone, he had played many instruments. Stan fell in love with the instrument and started practicing for 8 hours every day, even though his father bought him a clarinet. He was admitted to the All City High School Orchestra in New York City in 1941. Stan was able to have a tutor, Simon Kovar, a bassoon player, from the New York Philharmonic. He began to play the saxophone more often. He dropped out of school to pursue his musical career. However, he was sent back to school by the school’s truancy officers. He was accepted in Jack Teagarden’s band in 1943. His youth made him Teagarden’s ward. Getz was also a member of the Nat King Cole and Lionel Hampton bands. After having played for Stan Kenton and Jimmy Dorsey and Benny Goodman, Getz became a soloist with Woody Herman in 1947-1949 in ‘The Second Herd. He first gained attention as one the band’s saxophonists. They were collectively known as “The Four Brothers”, which included Serge Chaloff and Zoot Sims as well as Herbie Steward. He had a hit song with Herman called “Early Autumn”, and he was able launch his solo career after he left ‘The Second Herd. After 1950, he would be the lead on nearly all of his recordings. In the early 1950s, Getz decided to break away from Lester Young’s style and create his own musical identity. He was soon one of the most well-known jazzmen. In 1950, he met Horace Silver and used him for several months in his quartet. He formed an exciting quintet with Jimmy Raney, who was also on the 1951 tour of Sweden. Their interplay on up-tempo songs and their tonal blend on ballads were quite memorable. Johnny Smith had a hit in “Moonlight in Vermont” thanks to Getz’s playing. In 1953-1954, Bob Brookmeyer made Getz’s group a quintet. Despite some drug problems, Getz was still a consistent poll winner. The tenorman spent 1958-1960 in Europe and returned to the U.S. to record his favorite album, Focus with Eddie Sauter’s Orchestra. Getz was a key figure in the introduction of bossa nova music in America. Getz, along with Charlie Byrd (guitarist), recorded Jazz Samba 1962. It became a huge hit. The title track was an adaptation from Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “One Note Samba”. For “Desafinado”, Getz won the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Performance of 1963. Getz also recorded Jazz Samba Encore! Luiz Bonfa, the Brazilian guitarist who was one of the pioneers of bossa-nova, joined Getz for Jazz Samba Encore! The album Getz/Gilberto was recorded by him, Joao Gilberto, and Astrud Gilberto. Their song “The Girl from Ipanema”, won a Grammy Award. This piece was a classic in latin jazz. Getz/Gilberto won 2 Grammys (Best Album u0026 Best Single), beating out The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night. This was a win for Bossa Nova, Brazilian jazz and Brazilian music. A live album, Getz/Gilberto Vol. 2 followed. Getz Au Go Go, which was recorded live at Cafe Au Go Go, also followed. Astrud Gilberto’s affair with Getz ended their musical partnership and Getz began to shift away from bossanova to more cool jazz. He recorded Nobody Else But Me, an album of jazz with a new quartet that included vibraphonist Gary Burton. Verve Records refused to release the album, as they wanted to keep the Getz brand associated with bossa-nova. After Getz’s death, it was finally released 30 years later. Getz recorded the 1972 fusion idiom together with Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke. Without Getz, this group went on to be the famed Return to Forever. Many of their pieces, including “La Fiesta”, remained in their repertoire. Getz also experimented with an Echoplex on the saxophone during this time, which was criticized by critics. He eventually abandoned fusion and “electric music”, and returned to acoustic Jazz. At the same time, he gradually removed the Bossa Nova from his repertoire, choosing for more esoteric, less-mainstream jazz. In 1980’s film The Exterminator, he was featured as a guest star. Getz, now drug-free, had another creative peak at the end of his life with a group that included Kenny Barron (who Getz called “my musical other half”. In 1986, he was elected to the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame. On 7th November 1946, Getz married Beverly Byrne (vocalist with the Gene Krupa group). They had three children: Steven, David and Beverly (who married Michael McGGovern). As a teenager, Getz was involved in drugs and alcohol. He was caught attempting to rob the pharmacy in order to obtain a morphine fix. Beverly, who was being held in Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center’s prison ward, gave birth to their third son one floor below. Getz moved to Copenhagen to escape his addiction to narcotics. On 3 November 1956, he married Monica Silfverskiold, a Swedish aristocrat. He had two children with her: Pamela (his first child) and Nicolas (his second). Inga Torgner, a Swedish girlfriend, gave birth to Peter in 1957. Stan divorced Monica in 1987. Zoot Sims had known Getz since their days with Herman. He once called him a ‘nice bunch of guys’ because of Getz’s wide range of behaviours. Getz was able, in the last stages of his life, to stop his addictions. In 1991, Getz succumbed to liver cancer. His body was cremated, and his ashes were scattered at sea off Malibu, California. The Herb Alpert Foundation donated the 1998 Herb Alpert Foundation donation to dedicate the Stan Getz Media Center and Library at Berklee College of Music. Text contributed by users is available under Creative Commons By–SA License. It may also be available under GNU FDL.

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