Eddie Sauter

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Eddie Sauter
Clockwise from left: Eddie Sauter, Edwin Finckel, George Handy, Johnny Richards, Neal Hefti, and Ralph Burns at the Museum of Modern Art, New York c. 1947[1]
Clockwise from left: Eddie Sauter, Edwin Finckel, George Handy, Johnny Richards, Neal Hefti, and Ralph Burns at the Museum of Modern Art, New York c. 1947[1]
Background information
Birth nameEdward Ernest Sauter
Born(1914-12-02)December 2, 1914
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
DiedApril 21, 1981(1981-04-21) (aged 66)
New York City, U.S.
GenresJazz, swing
Occupation(s)Arranger, composer
Years active1935–1960s

Edward Ernest Sauter (December 2, 1914 – April 21, 1981) was an American composer and arranger during the swing era.[2]


Sauter studied music at Columbia University and the Juilliard School.[3] He began as a drummer and then played trumpet professionally, including with Red Norvo's orchestra. Eventually he became a full-time arranger for Norvo. He arranged and composed for Artie Shaw, Tommy Dorsey, Woody Herman, and especially Benny Goodman, earning a reputation for intricate work such as "Benny Rides Again", "Moonlight on the Ganges", and "Clarinet a la King".[4] A bout of tuberculosis contracted in 1942, however, forced a stay at the Summit Park Sanatorium in Pomona, New York, and stalled his musical career for some time.[5]

From 1952 to 1958, Sauter was co-leader of the Sauter-Finegan Orchestra. Between 1957 and 1959, he was Kurt Edelhagen's successor as leader of the SWF orchestra in Baden-Baden, Germany.[4] In 1961, he worked with tenor saxophonist Stan Getz on the album Focus,[4] a collaboration for which Sauter at Getz's commission wrote a suite of string compositions without primary melodies. This allowed Getz to improvise them in his customary style. Roy Haynes, the jazz drummer, appeared on "I'm Late, I'm Late", the only selection to use a non-string instrument other than Getz.

Sauter and Getz collaborated again during Sauter's work composing the score for the film Mickey One (1965),[4] which starred Warren Beatty. Sauter's television composing includes the third season theme to Rod Serling's Night Gallery. In 2003, Sauter was inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame.

Although Sauter is best known for jazz, he also orchestrated Broadway musicals such as 1776, The Apple Tree, and It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's Superman. Orchestrator Jonathan Tunick said of Sauter's Broadway work: "Eddie did these marvelous things, always theatrical, always effective. And completely unlike anybody else."[6] His composition "World Without Time" is used as the theme music for the public affairs show The Open Mind, originally hosted by Richard Heffner.


Sauter died of a heart attack in Nyack, New York, on April 21, 1981.[7]

Selected discography[edit]

As arranger and composer[edit]


  1. ^ Portrait of Ralph Burns, Edwin A. Finckel, George Handy, Neal Hefti, Johnny Richards, and Eddie Sauter, Museum of Modern Art, New York, N.Y., ca. Mar. 1947 - William P. Gottlieb. Retrieved January 2011.
  2. ^ Larkin, Colin, ed. (2002). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Fifties Music (Third ed.). Virgin Books. p. 379. ISBN 1-85227-937-0.
  3. ^ Katz, Jamie (June 2009). "The Jazzman Testifies". Columbia College Today. Archived from the original on September 16, 2016. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d Yanow, Scott. "Eddie Sauter". AllMusic. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  5. ^ Harniman, Ken. "The Eddie Sauter Story: Nyack Graduate Hit Musical Peak." Rockland County (NY) Journal-News, 12 August 1963.
  6. ^ Suskin, Steven (2009). The sound of Broadway music: a book of orchestrators and orchestrations. Oxford University Press. p. 86. ISBN 978-0-19-971882-5.
  7. ^ Wilson, John S. (April 25, 1981). "Eddie Sauter, Composer, is Dead at 66". The New York Times. Retrieved July 11, 2018.

External links[edit]