Gatta, a lifelong Red Banker, died at Barnabas Health Hospice at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch. He was buried Wednesday at Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Middletown.
A butcher who infused bebop, played loud, into his every working hour over nearly five decades behind the counter at Johnny’s Jazz Market, Gatta served as a living encyclopedia of jazz arcana among the boxes of cereal and detergent in his store.
He was also, he was fond of telling visitors, a front-row witness to the West Side’s transition from a neighborhood dominated by African-Americans and immigrant Italians to one with a Spanish accent changes he heartily embraced.