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One of the all-time great tenor saxophonists, Stan Getz was known as "The Sound" because he had one of the most beautiful tones ever heard. Getz, whose main early influence was Lester Young, grew to be a major influence himself and to his credit he never stopped evolving.
Getz had the opportunity to play in a variety of major swing big bands while a teenager due to the World War II draft. He was with Jack Teagarden (1943) when he was just 16, followed by stints with Stan Kenton (1944-1945), Jimmy Dorsey (1945), and Benny Goodman (1945-1946); he soloed on a few records with Goodman. Getz, who had his recording debut as a leader in July 1946 with four titles, became famous during his period with Woody Herman's Second Herd (1947-1949), soloing (along with Zoot Sims, Herbie Steward, and Serge Chaloff) on the original version of "Four Brothers" and having his sound well-featured on the ballad "Early Autumn." After leaving Herman, Getz was (with the exception of some tours with Jazz at the Philharmonic) a leader for the rest of his life.
During the early '50s, Getz broke away from the Lester Young style to form his own musical identity and he was soon among the most popular of all jazzmen. He discovered Horace Silver in 1950 and used him in his quartet for several months. After touring Sweden in 1951, he formed an exciting quintet that co-featured guitarist Jimmy Raney; their interplay on uptempo tunes and tonal blend on ballads were quite memorable. Getz's playing helped Johnny Smith have a hit in "Moonlight in Vermont"; during 1953-1954, Bob Brookmeyer made his group a quintet and, despite some drug problems during the decade, Getz was a constant poll winner. After spending 1958-1960 in Europe, the tenorman returned to the U.S. and recorded his personal favorite album, Focus, with arranger Eddie Sauter's Orchestra. Then, in February 1962, Getz helped usher in the bossa nova era by recording Jazz Samba with Charlie Byrd; their rendition of "Desafinado" was a big hit. During the next year, Getz made bossa nova-flavored albums with Gary McFarland's big band, Luiz Bonfá, and Laurindo Almeida, but it was Getz/Gilberto (a collaboration with Antonio Carlos Jobim and João Gilberto) that was his biggest seller, thanks in large part to "The Girl from Ipanema" (featuring the vocals of Astrud and João Gilberto).
Getz could have spent the next decade sticking to bossa nova, but instead he de-emphasized the music and chose to play more challenging jazz. His regular group during this era was a piano-less quartet with vibraphonist Gary Burton, he recorded with Bill Evans (1964), played throughout the 1965 Eddie Sauter soundtrack for Mickey One, and made the classic album Sweet Rain (1967) with Chick Corea. Although not all of Getz's recordings from the 1966-1980 period are essential, he proved that he was not afraid to take chances. Dynasty with organist Eddie Louiss (1971), Captain Marvel with Chick Corea (1972), and The Peacocks with Jimmy Rowles (1975) are high points. After utilizing pianist Joanne Brackeen in his 1977 quartet, Getz explored some aspects of fusion with his next unit which featured keyboardist Andy Laverne. Getz even used an Echoplex on a couple of songs but, despite some misfires, most of his dates with this unit are worthwhile. However, purists were relieved when he signed with Concord in 1981 and started using a purely acoustic backup trio on most dates. Getz's sidemen in later years included pianists Lou Levy, Mitchell Forman, Jim McNeely, and Kenny Barron. His final recording, 1991's People Time, (despite some shortness in the tenor's breath) is a brilliant duet set with Barron.
Throughout his career Getz recorded as a leader for Savoy, Spotlite, Prestige, Roost, Verve, MGM, Victor, Columbia, SteepleChase, Concord, Sonet, Black Hawk, A&M, and EmArcy among other labels (not to mention sessions with Lionel Hampton, Dizzy Gillespie, and Gerry Mulligan) and there are dozens of worthy records by the tenor currently available on CD.
Stanley Getz (February 2, 1927 – June 6, 1991) was an American jazz saxophone player. Getz was known as "The Sound" because of his warm, lyrical tone, his prime influence being the wispy, mellow timbre of his idol, Lester Young. Coming to prominence in the late 1940s with Woody Herman's big band, Getz is described by critic Scott Yanow as "one of the all-time great tenor saxophonists". Getz went on to perform in bebop, cool jazz and third stream, but is perhaps best known for popularizing bossa nova, as in the worldwide hit single "The Girl from Ipanema" (1964).
Early life 
Getz was born on February 2, 1927, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His parents were Ukrainian Jews, who emigrated from the Kiev area in 1903. The family later moved to New York City for better employment opportunities. Getz worked hard in school, receiving straight As, and finished sixth grade close to the top of his class. Getz's major interest was in musical instruments, and he felt a need to play every instrument in sight. He played a number of them before his father bought him his first saxophone at the age of 13. Even though his father also got him a clarinet, Getz instantly fell in love with the saxophone and began practicing eight hours a day.
He attended James Monroe High School (New York) in the Bronx. In 1941, he was accepted into the All City High School Orchestra of New York City. This gave him a chance to receive private, free tutoring from the New York Philharmonic's Simon Kovar, a bassoon player. He also continued playing the saxophone. He eventually dropped out of school in order to pursue his musical career, but was later sent back to the classroom by the school system's truancy officers.
In 1943 at the age of 16, he was accepted into Jack Teagarden's band, and because of his youth he became Teagarden's ward. Getz also played along with Nat King Cole and Lionel Hampton. After playing for Stan Kenton, Jimmy Dorsey, and Benny Goodman, Getz was a soloist with Woody Herman from 1947 to 1949 in "The Second Herd", and he first gained wide attention as one of the band's saxophonists, who were known collectively as 'The Four Brothers', the others being Serge Chaloff, Zoot Sims and Herbie Steward. With Herman, he had a hit with "Early Autumn" and after Getz left "The Second Herd" he was able to launch his solo career. He would be the leader on almost all of his recording sessions after 1950.
In the mid to late 1950s working from Scandinavia, Getz became popular playing cool jazz with Horace Silver, Johnny Smith, Oscar Peterson, and many others. His first two quintets were notable for their personnel, including Charlie Parker's rhythm section of drummer Roy Haynes, pianist Al Haig and bassist Tommy Potter. A 1953 line-up of the Dizzy Gillespie/Stan Getz Sextet featured Gillespie, Getz, Oscar Peterson, Herb Ellis, Ray Brown and Max Roach.
Returning to the U.S. from Europe in 1961, Getz became a central figure in introducing bossa nova music to the American audience. Teaming with guitarist Charlie Byrd, who had just returned from a U.S. State Department tour of Brazil, Getz recorded Jazz Samba in 1962 and it became a hit. The title track was an adaptation of Antonio Carlos Jobim's "One Note Samba". Getz won the Grammy for Best Jazz Performance of 1963 for "Desafinado", from the same album. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. As a follow-up, Getz recorded the album, Jazz Samba Encore!, with one of the originators of bossa nova, Brazilian guitarist Luiz Bonfá. It also sold more than a million copies by 1964, giving Getz his second gold disc.
He then recorded the album Getz/Gilberto, in 1963, with Tom Jobim, João Gilberto and his wife, Astrud Gilberto. Their "The Girl from Ipanema" won a Grammy Award. The piece became one of the most well-known latin jazz tracks. Getz/Gilberto won two Grammys (Best Album and Best Single). A live album, Getz/Gilberto Vol. 2, followed, as did Getz Au Go Go (1964), a live recording at the Cafe Au Go Go. Getz's love affair with Astrud Gilberto brought an end to his musical partnership with her and her husband, and he began to move away from bossa nova and back to cool jazz. While still working with the Gilbertos, he recorded the jazz album Nobody Else but Me (1964), with a new quartet including vibraphonist Gary Burton, but Verve Records, wishing to continue building the Getz brand with bossa nova, refused to release it. It eventually came out 30 years later, after Getz had died.
In 1972, Getz recorded in the fusion idiom with Chick Corea, Tony Williams and Stanley Clarke, and in this period experimented with an Echoplex on his saxophone. He had a cameo in the film The Exterminator (1980).
In the mid-1980s Getz worked regularly in the San Francisco Bay area and taught at Stanford University as an artist-in-residence at the Stanford Jazz Workshop until 1988. In 1986, he was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame. During 1988, Getz worked with Huey Lewis and the News on their Small World album. He played the extended solo on the title track, which became a minor hit single.
His tenor saxophone of choice was the Selmer Mark VI.
Personal life 
Getz married Beverly Byrne, a vocalist with the Gene Krupa band, on November 7, 1946; they had three children together.
Getz became involved with drugs and alcohol while a teenager. In 1954, he was arrested for attempting to rob a pharmacy to get a morphine fix. As he was being processed in the prison ward of Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, Beverly gave birth to their third child one floor below. Getz tried to escape his narcotics addiction by moving to Copenhagen, Denmark. On November 3, 1956, he married Monica Silfverskiöld, daughter of Swedish physician and former olympic medalist Nils Silfverskiöld, and had two children with her: Pamela and Nicolaus. The couple divorced in 1989.
Zoot Sims, who had known Getz since their time with Herman, once described him as "a nice bunch of guys", as a consequence of the wide behavioural range of which Getz was capable. Getz died of liver cancer in June 6, 1991. His body was cremated and the ashes scattered at sea, off the coast of Marina del Rey, California.
In 1998, the Stan Getz Media Center and Library at Berklee College of Music was dedicated through a donation from the Herb Alpert Foundation.