Born Burton Swartz, in 1930 or 1931, probably in Philadelphia, Buddy Savitt began playing professionally while he was studying at Matbaum High School in Philadelphia. At first he worked around Philadelphia. Then he joined Elliott Lawrence’s Orchestra, probably in 1948.
Buddy Savitt played with Woody Herman’s “Second Herd” , taking the place of Stan Getz, in March 1949. Al Porcino recalled that when he rejoined Herman in 1949 that “the [Four] Brothers were Gene Ammons, Jimmy Giuffre, Buddy Savitt—with Serge Chaloff the only remaining one of the original four." Savitt is crdited on some of the “Second Herd’s” Capitol recordings, and was in the band until it disbanded mid-way through 1950. In the fall of 1950 Savitt re-joined the Elliot Lawernce Orchestra. All indications are that he stayed with Lawernce into the beginning of 1951, probably through the winter.
Buddy Savitt settled down in Philadelphia in the 1950s, working casual jobs, including some at the Blue Note in the company of Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Gerry Mulligan, among others. He taught saxophone at Ellis Tolin’s Music City, and played on many recording sessions. The Lord Discography of jazz recordings lists Buddy Savitt on 17 recording session between 1949-1960, on either tenor or baritone saxophone. In addition to the sessions with Herman, he recorded extensively as a sideman for the Philadelphia-based label Cameo/Parkway (many of which are probably not listed in Lord). He also recorded for them under his own name: Buddy Savitt - Smoke Gets In Your Eyes / Come Blow Your Horn (Cameo 857), 1961; and Buddy Savitt - Most Heard Sax in the World (Parkway (?) SP-7012), 1962.
Savitt played baritone sax in The Salsoul Orchestra between 1975 - 1977. In 1978 or 1979, when gambling became legal in Atlantic City, NJ, Buddy joined the house band at Caesar’s Boardwalk Regency Hotel-Casino. In 1980 or 1981 he joined the Paul Mann Orchestra at the Sands Hotel -Casino, also in Atlantic City.
Buddy Savitt died on Monday, April 18, 1983 in hospital, in Somers Point, NJ, after being diagnosed with cancer. Buddy was, and is, remembered fondly by his contemporaries and former students.