Ira Gitler

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Ira Gitler (born December 18, 1928 in Brooklyn in New York City , New York - † February 23, 2019 in Manhattan , New York City, New York) was an American jazz critic, jazz journalist and jazz historian who worked for the jazz magazine " Down Beat " wrote.


Gitler grew up during the swing period, but was mainly influenced by the bebop that emerged in New York in the 1940s . He graduated from the University of Missouri and Columbia University. Since his first liner notes in 1951 for a Zoot Sims album with the Prestige record company (for which he worked from 1950–1955) he wrote the lyrics for hundreds of album covers. 1963–1964 and 1967–1970 he was the editor (for New York) of the Down Beat , but also wrote for Metronome , JazzTimes , the French Jazz Magazine , the New York Times , Village Voice , the San Francisco Chronicle and others. In the Internet age, he wrote a column for “Jazz Central Station” and “CD now”.

Ira Gitler also produced records for Prestige for Bob Weinstock , such as Miles Davis ' Diggin 'with the Miles Davis Sextet (1953) and Collectors' Items (1956). He also organized jazz concerts, including the JVC-NY jazz festivals in the 1980s and 1990s (with many tributes to ... concerts). In addition, he worked as a radio commentator (e.g. for WNCN and WBAI in New York in the 1960s, after the turn of the millennium for “Reminiscing in Tempo” on Sirius Satellite Radio). In the early 1970s he taught at City College of New York , at The New School (1986–1994) and at the Manhattan School of Music . In jazz events he was a popular emcee (master of ceremonies) .

After writing a standard book on the history of bebop in the Jazz masters series in 1966 , he also published an oral history volume on the development of bebop in 1985. From the 1970s he also worked for Leonard Feather in updating and updating his jazz encyclopedia.

He was considered one of the most famous jazz critics and in 2002 received the Lifetime award from the New York jazz journalists.

He also wrote books on ice hockey (including Blood on the ice: Hockey's most violent moments (1974), Ice Hockey A to Z (1978)). Gitler died in February 2019 at the age of 90.


  • Jazz masters of the forties , MacMillan 1966, Collier, New York 1974, reworked as The masters of Bebop by DaCapo
  • From Swing to Bop , Oxford University Press 1985 (interviews, i.e. oral history project as well as Jazz masters of the 40s )
  • with Spiltzer: Jazz
  • The Masters of Bebop: A Listener's Guide , Da Capo Press, 2001
  • with Ralph J. Gleason , Studs Terkel : Celebrating the Duke - and Louis, Bessie, Billie, Bird, Carmen, Miles, Dizzy and other heroes , 1975
  • with Leonard Feather : The encyclopedia of Jazz in the 70s , Horizon Press 1976, 1987
  • this: Encyclopedia of Jazz , 1955
  • this: Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz , Oxford University Press 1999; ISBN 978-0195320008

Web links


Individual evidence

  1. Matt Schudel: Ira Gitler, jazz historian and critic who chronicled the rise of bebop, dies at 90. The Washington Post , February 26, 2019, accessed on March 3, 2019 .
  2. ^ Miles Davis: The Autobiography , p. 196 u. 217.