This Week In Music

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Stanley "Stan" Getz – Jazz Saxophone Player (February 27, 1927 to June 6, 1991)

Considered one of America's top tenor saxophone players, Stan Getz was already interested in music when he was only six years old. Chosen by his school's band director to play bass at age twelve, Getz received an alto sax from his father when he was thirteen. While still in his teens, Getz was playing tenor sax in Jack Teagarden's band.

In 1944, Getz joined Stan Kenton's band; in 1945 he played with Jimmy Dorsey, and he was with Benny Goodman until 1946. Getz's popularity climbed after a stint with Woody Herman's Second Herd and a recording of "Early Autumn." In the '60s Getz embraced bossa nova and his quartet recorded the 1964 hit "The Girl From Ipanema."

His polished, yet lyrically warm, playing style on the tenor saxophone resulted in Getz being tagged with "The Sound" as a nickname. He performed widely in Europe and recorded extensively, compiling more than 300 pieces before his death. During his career he explored straight-ahead jazz as well as fusion, working with Chick Corea, Tony Williams, and Stanley Clarke.

Getz emulated Lester Young, citing his mellow wispy tone as an influence. His tenor saxophone was usually a Selmer Mark VI (the Selmer Paris Reference 54 follows in that tradition with a white plastic Brilhart Tonalin mouthpiece.

Dissatisfied with his position in Salzburg, Mozart settled in Vienna in 1781, where despite his fame—as an independent performer and composer—he never achieved financial security. Already regarded as the finest Viennese keyboard player of his time, his reputation was secured by the 1782 premier of his opera Die Entfuhrung as dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglio). During this period Mozart began his association with librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte, a collaboration that led to such operatic masterpieces as The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni.

Getz taught at Stanford University in the mid-80s and was an artist in residence at the Stanford Jazz Workshop until 1988. In 1986, he was inducted into the Downbeat Jazz Hall of Fame. The Stan Getz Media Center and Library at the Berklee College of Music was dedicated in 1988 thanks to a donation from the Herb Alpert Foundation. Getz died of liver cancer in 1991.


Historic Musical Event: Event of the Week: Frank Sinatra debuts on radio's "Your Hit Parade," February 6, 1943.

In December of 1942, Frank Sinatra had given his first concert at New York's Paramount Theater, causing hysteria among the teen girls in the audience—many of whom had been paid to shriek and scream. From that time forward, Sinatra was an entertainment legend.

Sinatra was probably the first real teen idol and later a pop superstar. Though he had gotten his first show business break by winning a radio talent contest as part of a singing group, his radio debut as a solo vocalist came during 1943 on a show called "Your Hit Parade."

Only four months earlier, he had broken his contract as a singer leaving the Tommy Dorsey Band to further his career as a soloist. Known as "ole blue eyes," Sinatra sang in front of a live studio audience as the lead singer for "Your Hit Parade" through the end of 1944. "Your Hit Parade" was a popular radio show that brought Sinatra the attention he sought. Hollywood producers as well as teenage girls tuned in to the show as Sinatra's solo career went into overdrive.

Despite a musicians' strike at the time, Sinatra moved up the pop charts by making records a capella with only a backup chorus—garnering four Top 10 hits in 1943.

A talented performer who transformed popular singing with a personal point of view and an uncanny ability to tell a story with song, he was also blessed to have worked with many of the finest arrangers of his time and to have the songs of great theater composers to call upon and imbue with his own style. Sinatra went on to record many hits during a career that, despite ups and downs, spanned more than 60 years and earned him the reputation of one of the greatest singers of the 20th century. A 1954 Oscar winner for his acting in From Here to Eternity, Sinatra was awarded the Legend Award at the 1994 Grammy Awards. In 2002, the post office in his home town of Hoboken, New Jersey, was named in his honor. In 2008, the U.S. Postal Service issued a 42-cent stamp in his honor. The U.S. Congress passed a resolution on May 20, 2008, making May 13 Frank Sinatra Day in honor of his contribution to American culture.