Stan Getz, born on February 2, 1927, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was a celebrated American jazz saxophonist who left an indelible mark on the music industry. Known for his warm, lyrical tone and impeccable technique, Getz is often hailed as one of the greatest tenor saxophonists of all time.
Getz’s love for music began in his early years, and at the age of 13, he started playing the bass before switching to the saxophone. After winning a scholarship to study at the prestigious All-City High School in New York City, Getz went on to study at the equally renowned Juilliard School. However, his time at Juilliard was short-lived, as he soon left to pursue his passion for jazz.
Stan Getz’s professional career took off in the mid-1940s when he joined the Benny Goodman Orchestra at the age of 16. He then went on to perform with other big bands led by notable musicians, such as Stan Kenton, Jimmy Dorsey, and Woody Herman. It was during his time with Woody Herman’s Second Herd, playing with Serge Chaloff, Zoot Sims and Herbie Steward that Getz gained the nickname “The Sound” for his warm and smooth saxophone tone.
In the 1950s, Getz began to establish himself as a successful solo artist, releasing several albums and becoming a key figure in the cool jazz movement. His recordings during this period, such as “Early Autumn” and “Split Kick,” showcased Getz’s melodic and lyrical playing style, which resonated with both jazz enthusiasts and mainstream audiences.
One of Stan Getz’s most significant contributions to the world of music came in the early 1960s when he collaborated with Brazilian guitarist João Gilberto and composer Antônio Carlos Jobim. This collaboration led to the birth of bossa nova, a fusion of jazz and Brazilian music that became a global phenomenon. Getz’s 1964 album “Getz/Gilberto,” featuring the hit song “The Girl from Ipanema,” became a bestseller and earned multiple Grammy Awards, further cementing Getz’s status as a jazz legend.
Throughout his career, Stan Getz collaborated with some of the most celebrated musicians in the industry, such as Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Peterson, and Chick Corea. He continued to perform and record into the 1980s, exploring various styles of music, including fusion, funk, and straight-ahead jazz.
Stan Getz passed away on June 6, 1991, after a battle with liver cancer. His legacy as a pioneering saxophonist and a key figure in the development of cool jazz and bossa nova endures, as his music continues to inspire generations of musicians and fans alike. Getz’s remarkable talent and passion for his craft have secured his place in history as one of the most influential and enduring figures in the world of jazz.
Last updated 3/18/2023.