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date: 09 July 2020

Gitler, Irafree

  • Daniel Zager

(b New York, Dec 18, 1928; d Feb 23, 2019). American writer. After attending the University of Missouri (1946–50) and Columbia University (1950) he worked for Prestige Records (1950–55). With Leonard Feather he collaborated on The Encyclopedia of Jazz (1955), for which he was an assistant writer and editor, and The Encyclopedia of Jazz in the Sixties (1966), and he was an author with Feather of The Encyclopedia of Jazz in the Seventies (1976) and the Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz (1999). Gitler wrote for such periodicals as Metronome, Jazz Magazine, Down Beat (of which he was an associate editor), and Jazz Times, produced film scripts on Louis Armstrong and Lionel Hampton for the US Information Service, and was a commentator for radio station WBAI, New York; he also taught at CUNY. Among his more notable writings is Swing to Bop (1985), a perceptive treatment of the big bands of the 1930s and bop groups of the 1940s.

Video oral history material in NCH (HCJA).


(selective list)

  • Jazz Masters of the Forties (New York, 1966/R1983 with discography)
  • with L. Feather: The Encyclopedia of Jazz in the Seventies (New York, 1976) [Feather–Gitler ’70s]
  • Swing to Bop: an Oral History of the Transition in Jazz in the 1940s (New York, and Oxford, England, 1985)
  • ed. with L. Feather: The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz (New York, and Oxford, England, 1999) [Feather–GitlerBEJ]


  • P. Brodowski: “An Apple Jam with Ira Gitler,” JF, no.118 (1989), 42
Clinton (NY), Hamilton College: Hamilton College Jazz Archive