Tenor saxophonist Stan Getz,
New York City, c. 1949.
Courtesy of Herman Leonard Photography, LLC.
Born February 2, 1927, in Philadelphia, PA
Died June 6, 1991, in Malibu, CA
“The saxophone is an imitation of the human voice,” tenor saxophonist Stan Getz once said. His own voice was breathy, light, feminine, and so touching that it captured the attention of the public without sacrificing the respect of jazz aficionados. “I went on the road when I was 15,” he explained, “and everything I learned has been in what you might call the traveling academics.” His schooling began in the big bands of Jack Teagarden, Benny Goodman, and Woody Herman, and continued with his own small groups in the 1940s and ’50s. But it was his marriage of cool jazz with the laid-back rhythms and sweetly melancholy melodies of the Brazilian samba in 1962 that brought him to national attention and sparked a bossa nova craze. “It’s a folk music,” Getz explained. “All folk music is beautiful. And it goes perfectly with jazz.”
Listen to more music at NPR: