born on 23/10/1933 in Los Angeles, CA, United States
died on 2/11/1971 in New York City, NY, United States
Gary Robert McFarland (October 23, 1933 – November 3, 1971) was a 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.
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).
Around 1971, McFarland had been considering a move into writing and arranging for film and stage. But, at age 38, on November 3, 1971 – the same day that he completed the Broadway album, To Live Another Summer; To Pass Another Winter – McFarland died in New York City at St. Vincent's Hospital from a lethal dose of liquid methadone that, apparently, he had ingested while at Bar 55 at 55 Christopher Street in Greenwich Village. It will never be known whether he took the drug on purpose or whether someone spiked his drink, as inexplicably, the police never investigated. Gary McFarland had been married since 1963 to Gail Evelyn Frankel (maiden; 1942–2007) and, together, they had a son, Milo McFarland (1964–2002) and a daughter, Kerry McFarland. Milo McFarland, also at age 38, died of a heroin overdose.
Bill Evans recorded "Gary's Theme" in 1977.
- 1968: Does the Sun Really Shine on the Moon?
- 1968: America the Beautiful: An Account of Its Disappearance
- 1969: Slaves with Grady Tate
- 1969: Today
- 1963: Point of Departure
- 1965: Tijuana Jazz with Clark Terry
- 1966: Profiles
- 1966: Simpático with Gábor Szabó
- 1967: The October Suite with Steve Kuhn
- 1961: The Jazz Version of "How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying"
- 1963: The Gary McFarland Orchestra: Special Guest Soloist: Bill Evans
- 1964: Soft Samba
- 1965: The In Sound
- 1966: Soft Samba Strings
- 1968: Scorpio and Other Signs
- 1966: Eye of the Devil (soundtrack)
- 1971: Butterscotch Rum with Peter Smith (Buddah Records)
- 1972: Requiem for Gary McFarland (Cobblestone Records)
- 2014: Jazz at The Penthouse (CD album of a club date from 1965, included with the DVD documentary This Is Gary McFarland!)
- 1961: All the Sad Young Men – Anita O'Day (Verve)
- 1961: Gloomy Sunday and Other Bright Moments – Bob Brookmeyer (Verve) – two compositions by McFarland
- 1962: Essence – John Lewis (Atlantic) – all compositions by McFarland
- 1962: Big Band Bossa Nova – Stan Getz (Verve)
- 1963: Gerry Mulligan '63 – Gerry Mulligan (Verve) – 3 compositions by McFarland
- 1963: The Groovy Sound of Music – Gary Burton (RCA)
- 1965: Latin Shadows – Shirley Scott (Impulse!)
- 1966: Waiting Game – Zoot Sims (Impulse!)
- 1969: Genesis – Wendy and Bonnie
- 1969: Dreams – Gábor Szabó
- 1969: 1969 – Gábor Szabó
- 1969: Lena & Gabor – Lena Horne and Gábor Szabó
- 1971: Steve Kuhn – Steve Kuhn (Buddha)
With Bob Brookmeyer
- Trombone Jazz Samba (Verve, 1962)
- "Gary McFarland" (biography), by Douglas Payne, AllMusic (retrieved February 20, 2008)
- "Gary McFarland – Theme and Variations" (cover photo: McFarland), by Dan Morgenstern, DownBeat, Vol. 33, No. 4, February 24, 1966, pg. 25; ISSN 0012-5768
- "Mid-Month Recordings: The Young Art of Gary McFarland," by Robert Farris Thompson, Saturday Review, Vol. 48, No. 7, February 13, 1965, pps. 58–59;