In 1956, tax problems compelled Stan Getz to move to Denmark.

He wasn’t alone when it came to sizable tax bills and a European escape. After paying their sidemen immediately after gigs, many jazz leaders didn’t or couldn’t set aside an appropriate portion for the IRS. Other musicians spent all of their gross pay to cover drugs, alcohol, cars, failed marriages and other expenses, leaving them unable to pay the tax bill. Most musicians didn’t think about financial planning or accountants.

Depending on the source, Getz either dodged the tax bill entirely by living in Denmark or paid the IRS back incrementally by mail from Copenhagen. Whichever story is accurate, Getz returned to the U.S. on Jan. 19, 1961. But the only way he could have avoided arrest is if he had paid off the debt or worked out an IRS payback deal in advance of his return.

Part of Getz’s motivation to return to the U.S. was the September, 1960, death of bassist Oscar Pettiford, who also lived in Copenhagen. According to Donald Maggin’s Getz biography, Stan Getz: A Life in Jazz, the tenor saxophonist took Pettiford’s passing hard: “Pettiford was the only musical intelligence with whom Stan could consistently explore the American innovations, and his feelings of artistic isolation increased dramatically when Pettiford was taken away from him.”