Tuesday, February 26, 2019
R.I.P.: Ira Gitler
One of the all-time most important jazz writers. I had the honor to work with Ira on several projects. He wrote liner notes for albums I produced (among them Ithamara Koorax's "Love Dance" and "Bim Bom - The Complete João Gilberto Songbook") and we were the writers invited to do the liner notes for the CTI/Rudy Van Gelder CD Collection issued in Japan in 2009.
For me it was a dream come true, 'cause I grew up reading "The Encyclopedia Of Jazz In The Seventies" that he co-wrote with Leonard Feather, another brilliant jazz historian, as well as 700-plus of notes he wrote for CTI (Tamba 4, Wes Montgomery, George Benson, Jim Hall, Art Farmer, Nat Adderley, J.J. Johnson & Kai Winding, Stanley Turrentine, Freddie Hubbard), Prestige (Coltrane, Miles, Monk, Chet, Getz, Sonny Rollins, Mal Waldron, Phil Woods, Dexter Gordon), Blue Note (Art Blakey, Horace Silver etc), Candid (Claudio Roditi), Metronome, New Jazz, Atlantic, Savoy, Muse etc.
A former editor of DownBeat, Ira also wrote the lyrics to Horace Silver's "Filthy McNasty", recorded by Eddie Jefferson) and produced countless reissues. The dream of all the great jazzmen was to have an album annotated by Ira Gitler! He loved jazz and lived jazz 24 hours a day. When died this Sunday, he was listening an Art Tatum record and wearing a DownBeat T-shirt.