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Biography

  • Born

    23 October 1933

  • Born In

    Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, United States

  • Died

    2 November 1971 (aged 38)

Gary McFarland (October 23, 1933 – November 3, 1971) was an influential composer, arranger, vibraphonist and vocalist, prominent on Verve and Impulse! Records during the 1960s, when he made "one of the more significant contributors to orchestral jazz".

McFarland was born in Los Angeles, on October 23, 1933, but grew up in Grants Pass, Oregon. He attained a small following after working with Bill Evans, Gerry Mulligan, Johnny Hodges, John Lewis, Stan Getz, Bob Brookmeyer, and Anita O'Day.

As well as his own albums and arrangements for other musicians he composed the scores to the films Eye of the Devil (1966) and Who Killed Mary What's 'Er Name? (1971). By the end of the 1960s he was moving away from jazz towards an often wistful or melancholy style of instrumental pop, as well as producing the recordings of other artists on his Skye Records label (run in partnership with Gábor Szabó and Cal Tjader until its bankruptcy in 1970).

McFarland was considering a move into writing and arranging for film and stage when, on November 3, 1971, he was poisoned with methadone in a New York City bar.

Bill Evans recorded "Gary's Theme" in 1977.

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