Stan Getz: A Life in Jazz

Donald L. Maggin, Author
Donald L. Maggin, Author William Morrow & Company $25 (0p) ISBN 978-0-688-12315-4
Reviewed on: 03/04/1996
Release date: 03/01/1996
Paperback - 432 pages - 978-0-688-15555-1
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7861-1774-1
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Maggin (Bankers, Builders, Knaves, and Thieves) chronicles the life and career of the great jazz saxophonist Getz (1927-1991), who was known especially for his sensuous tone and brilliant improvisations. Getz put his prodigious musical gifts to work early, joining Jack Teagarden's band at age 16 and moving on to Stan Kenton's group the following year. From then on, his musical fortunes never ceased to flourish. Nevertheless, his personal life was a disaster. Drugs. alcohol, depression, episodes of violence, a suicide attempt and lengthy divorce proceedings against his second wife provide a painful backdrop to the story of a consistently triumphant professional career. Maggin discusses Getz's performances and recordings (often delving into the backgrounds of many of the musicians with whom he worked) and analyzes his style and technique. While he presents the painful details of Getz's personal life, Maggin doesn't make much of an attempt to explain how Getz could have functioned so well on one level and failed so miserably on another. Photos not seen by PW. (May.)
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