Stan Getz

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Not to be confused with the jazz saxophonist and band leader of the same name, rock & roll's Stan Getz played a key role in the sound of two classic rockabilly acts. From 1957 until 1959, the young, lanky…
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Not to be confused with the jazz saxophonist and band leader of the same name, rock & roll's Stan Getz played a key role in the sound of two classic rockabilly acts. From 1957 until 1959, the young, lanky teenaged Stan Getz, a generation younger than his jazz namesake, played upright bass and was the leader of a group known officially as Stan Getz & His Tom Cats, who backed up Detroit-based rock & roll star Jack Scott on his classic early sides for Carlton Records.

Getz's band was the outgrowth of Jack Scafone's original band, the Southern Drifters. By 1956, Scafone had changed his name to the more American-sounding Jack Scott and was fronting a band called the Tom Cats. Getz played bass in and led the combo, which also featured Scott's cousin Dominic Scafone on drums and Dave Rohillier on lead guitar; the band also used a steel guitar player, Billy Gray, in its stage performances and also added a fiddle player. The Tom Cats were pretty impressive on stage, a trio with a lean, stripped down sound driven by Rohillier's guitar and anchored by Getz's playing. In the studio, they were less effective, in part because they didn't generate the same kind of excitement that they did in concert.

The group played with Scott on a pair of sides, "Baby She's Gone" and "You Can Bet Your Bottom Dollar," cut at 3 in the morning following a live gig, that so impressed ABC/Paramount Records, that the label bought it up as an official release. Neither "Baby She's Gone" nor its follow-up record, "Two Timin' Woman" b/w "I Need Your Love," sold well nationally, and Scott, Getz, and company were dropped by ABC at the start of 1958. Getz and the Tom Cats were still with Scott when he cut his breakthrough single, "My True Love" b/w "Leroy," in the spring of 1958, and Getz remained with him for all of the 1958 and part of 1959. By that time, however, Scott had added a vocal group, the Chantones, to his act, serving as his own answer to the Jordanaires, and this reduced the prominence of his backing musicians, though it did yield a series of major hits. Getz's best work with Scott as a bassist or leader is the briskly paced rockabilly classic "Leroy."

Finally in 1959, Scott completely revised his sound and dropped his previous accompaniment. Getz next turned up playing guitar in backing band behind rockabilly star Johnny Powers, who was signed to Sun Records at the beginning of 1959. Powers was the real article, a hot rockabilly player with a bold attack in his singing and playing, and Getz made the switch to guitar with apparent ease. He has not been heard from in any significant capacity on bass or guitar since his time playing with Powers.