Stan Getz 1987 Interview Animated by PBS Blank on Blank [YouTube Video]

Brad Bershad

by Brad Bershad

Published February 18, 2014

Stan Getz was an institution unto himself as a jazz saxophone player for decades. He passed away in 1991 at the age of 64, but PBS has brought him back to life through the power of animation and a recorded interview with Joe Smith from August 7th, 1986 in Los Angeles. Watch above.

Titled Stan Getz on Wasted Years, this interview is particularly interesting because Getz talks about drinking and drug use in the jazz culture over the course of 45 years. He says, "The drugs were in the culture long before they reached the public. The jazz musician’s been in the forefront of the language that’s used now, the drugs that’s used now. The whole attitude of the '80s comes from the '40s. It started to manifest itself in the '60s."

He tells a funny story about being so stoned on stage that he didn't realize that a bear almost took his head off.

Interestingly, Getz says that if he hadn't been doing drugs and drinking he would have made better music. Joe Smith says, "Even when you were so much involved with both drugs and alcohol, you played well." Getz replies, "We played well all the time. You can do anything with practice. I’m sure we could’ve played better if we weren't."

Getz explains how alcoholism and heroin addiction affected him and hurt him as a person. He recalls, "I've done some dastardly things, but what can I do except make amends and apologize?" At the time of the interview, he was sober and explains that he was really enjoying life, playing music, and traveling the world.

It's a great video, also because of the great Stan Getz music that plays in the background. He was a phenomenal musician, with effortless groove and signature tenor sax sounds that were as silky smooth as they come.


Stan Getz and the Oscar Peterson Trio "Pennies From Heaven"
Charlie Byrd and Stan Getz "One Note Samba"
Stan Getz "Lush Life"
Stan Getz and Bill Evans "Night and Day"



Source: Blank on Blank

Bossa Nova Jazz
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