Despite the fact that critics and fans tend to fall all over themselves with praise for Stan Getz’s playing, and that he led a pretty seedy life perfectly suited for tell-alls, there’s only one biography of the tenor saxophonist, the racy Stan Getz: A Life in Jazz by Donald L. Maggin. The new Stan Getz: Nobody Else but Me by Dave Gelly is more of a musical bio than a dirt-turner-upper, and it acts as a complement to the gossipy Maggin book.
Gelly is a British jazz critic and tenor saxophonist, and he says that Getz didn’t “change the face of jazz,” as many obituaries said. Rather, Gelly states, “In two respects he influenced developments-in disseminating Lester Young’s approach to the tenor saxophone, and in popularizing the bossa nova as a jazz genre-but essentially he was a unique and highly personal artist who spoke for nobody but himself.” That’s selfish, man!
Stan Getz: Nobody Else but Me is only about 175 printed pages long, but it’s handsomely designed and worth a look for those who are enthralled with the legendary tenor saxophonist’s uncommonly beautiful sound.