Ira Gitler, jazz historian and critic who chronicled the rise of bebop, dies at 90

Historians in the News
tags: obituaries, jazz history, Ira Gitler

Ira Gitler, who turned his childhood obsession with jazz into a career as a major behind-the-scenes figure, as a critic, magazine editor, record producer and historian who documented the rise of modern jazz, died Feb. 23 at a nursing center in Manhattan. He was 90.

He had heart surgery five years ago, but the immediate cause of death was not known, said his son, Fitz Gitler.

Mr. Gitler began writing about jazz while in high school in New York — he covered a performance by bebop trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie — and later became a fixture at Prestige Records, where he helped produce albums by Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins and the Modern Jazz Quartet.

Mr. Gitler wrote some of the first liner notes to be included on an album jacket, for “Swingin’ With Zoot Sims” (1951). In his notes accompanying John Coltrane’s 1958 album “Soultrane,” Mr. Gitler coined the term “sheets of sound” to describe the saxophonist’s cascading torrent of notes that could practically overwhelm a listener.

Read entire article at Washington Post

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