Tenor saxophonist Stan Getz, a ten-time Grammy award winner whose mellow tone conjured up images of "The Woman from Ipanema", was born in New York City but lived in his native Chicago. He was a member of legendary jazz legends such as Thelonious Monk, Sidney Bechet, Miles Davis and Jelly Roll Morton.
Stan Getz's love of the blues began at an early age. As a young boy, he played in a jazz band with his brothers. He began playing with Chicago jazz stars such as Dexter Gordon, but his career took a turn for the worse. He was forced to quit a few months later when his playing was discovered by Louis Jordan, a manager at Chess Records. In fact, Getz had to play behind Martin Denny in a famous session with pianist Ray Brown that led to his joining Thelonious Monk and the rest of Monk's quintet.
Stan Getz began learning how to play the guitar as a teenager. His father encouraged him, but Stan was less interested. Eventually, his father encouraged him to join his favorite jazz group, Thelonious Monk's Big Band. While there, Getz found himself fascinated by the sounds coming from the piano. He began studying piano and then took a trip to England to play for legendary pianist Art Blakey.
Upon returning to America, Getz continued his piano lessons but they became more intense. After a while, it became clear that the only way to really become successful with playing jazz piano was to take a professional jazz piano lesson. In his search for a teacher, he discovered jazz pianist Louis Jordan, who would become the best teacher of all time.
After receiving piano lessons, Stan Getz worked closely with jazz saxophonist Joe Pass.
Together, they helped establish the Jazz Messengers. Getz also played in many groups that included Chet Baker, Earl Robinson, Eddie Harris, and Dexter Gordon. In addition, Stan became a member of jazz supergroup Chicagoans such as J.J. Johnson's All-Star Orchestra and the Staple Singers.
As a result of his playing, Stan Getz was asking to be a member of Thelonious Monk's All-Star Jazz Troup. This was one of the most prestigious jazz bands ever assembled. He performed well throughout his tenure with the group. However, his performance didn't make him popular with fellow guitarist Miles Davis, who was known to be averse to guitar players. He quit after just a few months, citing a lack of interest from Davis.
His playing didn't prevent him from building a successful solo career, however, which led him to join forces with jazz musicians including Jelly Roll Morton and Wynton Kelly. They became the nucleus for jazz legends such as John Coltrane and Stanley Clarke. Stan Gotz later joined fellow Chicagoan Wynton Kelly in what would become known as the Jazz Messengers. While in Chicago, Getz recorded a number of jazz classics, among them "I'm Going to Be"Jazz."
Stan's popularity was further enhanced by his appearances at jazz festivals and he eventually became one of the most popular jazzed up musicians on the circuit. His style of playing was so popular that he received the Jazz Messengers' second album with his original band, the Stan Getz Jazz Messengers. He also recorded the hit recording of "When the Saints Go Marching In." Stan got his start on the recording stage in Chicago, performing alongside legends like Jelly Roll Morton, Count Basie, and Sonny Rollins. He became one of the most respected jazz performers in America.
Stan Gotz is survived by his wife Dora Winters and children Bill and Linda. Stan was an active member of the Chicago musical community and frequently gave concerts and conducted workshops. His love of music inspired him to donate his wealth to local jazz musicians. Many prominent jazz stars were in attendance at Stan Getz's funeral, including Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Eddie Hazel Odio.
Jazz musicians will cherish his contributions to jazz history. His style of playing, his charisma, and his commitment to the world of jazz will never die. His influence is felt in jazz recordings today. His musical legacy lives on. Learn more about Stan Getz in "The Story of Stan Getz."