Few if any saxophonists have rivalled the intense purity of tone created by Stan Getz. Whether playing slow ballads or at speed, he combined the airy lightness of Lester Young with a feathery, burnished tone that was unsurpassably beautiful.
Early in his career he played in various big bands including Stan Kenton and Benny Goodman, but it was his stint with Woody Herman in the late 1940s that brought him to national attention, both as a member of the 'Four Brothers' reed section, and as the soloist on a ravishing version of Early Autumn.
In 1949 he launched his solo career, and he continued to lead his own small groups for the rest of his career. He had frequent drug problems, including a period in jail in 1954. In the 1950s he toured as a star soloist with Stan Kenton's band, appeared in Jazz At The Philharmonic concerts, and made numerous sessions for Norman Granz's Verve label.
He had worked in Sweden in 1951 and settled there again in the late 1950s. On his return to the USA at the start of the 1960s he launched the bossa nova craze, with discs featuring the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim and Joao Gilberto. He became one of the most popular and biggest selling jazz artists of the period, and his groups included the pick of contemporary jazz players.
For much of his life he continued to battle addiction and his own complex temperament, but throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s he continued to make marvellous music, even during his final years, when he was dying from cancer.