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Stan Getz

(1927 - 1991)

Stan Getz was born Stanley Gayetzky on February 2, 1927, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He received his first saxophone from his father at the age of 13. Getz attended the Julliard School of Music, but left after only one year to pursue a career in music. In 1943, Getz was accepted to play in Jack Teagarden’s band. After playing in various other bands, from 1947-49 Getz became a soloist in the Woody Herman’s Herd.

Getz was an American jazz musician and is considered one of the greatest tenor saxophone players of all time. In the 1950s, Getz had become popular for playing cool jazz. Although, Getz became a world renowned musician he became involved with drugs, affecting not only his family life but his music as well. In 1958, Getz attempted to escape his narcotics addiction by moving to Copenhagen, Denmark.

Getz eventually return to the United States in 1961, becoming a central figure in the fusion of jazz and Brazilian bossa nova. In 1962, Getz recorded Jazz Samba, with Charlie Byrd; the record became an immediate hit. Getz then recorded with Jobim, João Gilberto and his wife, Astrud Gilberto. Both the album and their single, “The Girl from Ipanema” won Grammy Awards; the single quickly became one the most recognized jazz songs of all time. During the 1980s, Getz began to veer away from the bossa nova, choosing for more esoteric and less-mainstream jazz.

Getz died on June 6, 1991, in Malibu, California.

Sources: American Jewish Desk Reference. (NY: Random House), 1999; Wikipedia