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Remembering Stan...

The signed one of your Dad and me has an interesting story behind it that demonstrates a completely different side of him from the ‘bad boy’ side that we hear too much of.


When I was a teenager, I had a good friend who was a press photographer. He had an assignment to take some pictures at a JATP concert in London. When I heard that, and I knew Stan Getz was on the bill, I pleaded with my friend to take me with him as his assistant or something (Stan was then, as now, my idol). He finally agreed and off we went to the theatre.

After a while, after many pictures had been taken backstage, I saw the great man walking down the corridor. My friend than approached him and, before I knew what was happening, said to Stan “My young colleague here is a great fan and would like to have his picture taken with you. Is that all right?” “Of course, said Stan and indicated that I should come and stand next to him. I was so nervous and awe-struck in his presence that I literally couldn’t say a word. Stan put his arm round me and the picture was taken.
I did think that the whole episode was going to pass with my being speechless and not saying a word to him, but I managed to pluck up courage to ask him a favour. When the picture was printed, would he sign it for me if I brought it to his next London gig in a week or two’s time. He said certainly and asked my name.


A week or so later, I turned up at the stage door of the next London theatre (I can’t remember the name now) and asked if I could come in and see Mr. Getz. The Stage Door Keeper (like all SDKs) said that no-one comes in without an official pass. I pointed out that Mr. Getz had said that he would sign my photo. The SDK then asked my name and, when I told him, he said ‘Oh yes, Mr. Getz is expecting you – second dressing room on the right’!
I was amazed and impressed that, after one brief meeting, Stan had remembered my name and had also remember to take the trouble to inform the Stage Door Keeper of my possible visit. I can think of very people indeed that would do that! I found him in his dressing room (with Dizzy Gillespie) and he was extremely kind and charming.


I met him on a number of occasions after that and always personally found him very easy to talk to. (I did witness one or two occasions when he was a bit short with promoters, for instance, but that was only ever because, being a perfectionist, he wanted things to be right.).


I hope this is of interest to you Bev, and that I haven’t gone on for too long!
Regards
Roy Mathers

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This demonstrates the Stan that I always seem to be YELLING (lol!) about when confronted with all the ugly, jazz folk-lore-y tales that so predominantly are written about him.

He was very thoughtful and kind and really cared about people! Sure.. he said and did some (not so) choice things and I can understand the need to speak about them. But the good qualities should also be remembered! YES?!

Special thanks again to Roy Mathers for taking the time to scan all his photos and write me such a loving email!

*Roy took the photo of Stan used in this Selmer Ad!
Man, just want to say that is such a cool story! Memories like that sure last. Stan gave me an autograph at the old London House (Chicago) in the early 70's and won't forget that either.
Thanks for responding Paul!

I'm stepping out here and taking the liberty of posting a comment that my dear friend Marla wrote about this piece on FB. I know she won't mind (although.. sometimes dangerous to assume!) and if I know my Marla.. she will confirm it here!! (-: And also, because she did address her comment to you, Roy! In fact, Marla has spoken of her experience with Stan on the forum in the past, but thought it would be nice to add this comment here, as it SO applies! Thanks Marla!



June 17, 2009

"Dear Roy,

What a beautiful story. The reason I love your story so much is because I have had similar experiences with Stan, as I've posted to Stan's website already. Stan was consistently sweet, attentive and even offered me advise, as I was playing alto saxophone at the time (while in high school).

I feel it is very important to share these stories of someone's kindness because human nature tends to gravitate towards the nastier, more "gossipy" information about a famous person's life. Your sharing of this story and others I've heard over the years as to Stan's kindness certainly does reinforce how I've felt for a long time, so thank you!

Marla

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