Gary McFarland  

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Gary Robert McFarland (October 23, 1933 – November 3, 1971) was an American composer, arranger, vibraphonist and vocalist. He recorded for the jazz imprints Verve and Impulse! Records during the 1960s.

He is known for such recordings as his interpretation of Frank Loesser's "Bloop Bleep" (1965).



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 jazz luminaries 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 Norman Schwartz, Gábor Szabó and Cal Tjader, until its bankruptcy in 1970). He also produced and arranged the soft-rock album Genesis by singing sisters Wendy and Bonnie Flower.

McFarland was considering a move into writing and arranging for film and stage. However, 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 he had ingested at Bar 55 at 55 Christopher Street in Greenwich Village. It is not known whether he took the drug on purpose or someone spiked his drink; police did not investigate. McFarland had been married since 1963 to Gail Evelyn Frankel (maiden; 1942–2007); they had a son, Milo (1964–2002), and a daughter, Kerry. Milo McFarland died of a heroin overdose at the same age as his father, 38.


As leader

As producer/arranger

As sideman

With Bob Brookmeyer

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