For the third in its ongoing "tribute" series (the first two honored Oscar Peterson and Wes Montgomery), Radioland Records engaged the services of half a dozen of Canada's finest tenor saxophonists and asked each of them to compose a tune to articulate his impression of the late Stan Getz's virtuosity and to record a second piece that exemplifies Stan's stylistic diversity and range. The Power of Beauty is a natural title for such an endeavor, as Getz was known as much for the unmatched loveliness of his sound as he was for his masterful technique and seemingly bottomless well of sharp and graceful improvisations. Of course, none of these players sounds like Stan (as John Coltrane once remarked, "We'd all play like that way if we could"); the idea behind this worthy enterprise was to summon forth in some small way his all-encompassing spirit, no easy task either but one that is at least within reach. The original compositions include Murley's Stanstill, MacDonald's 517, Dwyer's Max's Mambo, LaBarbera's Whatever Stan Wants, Wilkins' I'm All for You and Dean's A Beautiful Bunch of Guys (recalling Zoot Sims's reply when asked his opinion of Getz). Each one succeeds admirably in reframing the expansive Getzian temperament. Among the other tunes, at least three - Parker 51, Three Little Words, You Go to My Head - were recorded by Stan at some time or other during his illustrious career. While none of these superlative players sets out to imitate Getz, it is clear that each of them has been touched to some degree by Stan's conspicuous talent - as have most of the tenor saxophonists who have arrived on the scene in the past generation or two. Murley's light, airy sound perhaps comes closest to Stan's, but all of these guys sound terrific, and all are capable of interpreting any song with shrewdness and panache - which they certainly do here. As a tribute to one of the all-time great saxophonists, this session is exemplary. And like the other entries in Radioland's commendable series, it can easily stand on its own as a splendid example of mainstream contemporary Jazz at its free-wheeling best.
Featuring these quartets: (1) Mike Murley, tenor saxophone; David Restivo, piano; Jim Vivian, bass; Ted Warren, drums. (2) Kirk MacDonald, tenor; Lorne Lofsky, guitar; Neil Swainson, bass; Jerry Fuller, drums. (3) Phil Dwyer, tenor; Gary Williamson, piano; Andrew Downing, bass; Marty Morrell, drums. (4) Pat LaBarbera, tenor; Brian Dickinson, piano; Duncan Hopkins, bass; John Sumner, drums. (5) Rick Wilkins, tenor; Ed Bickert, guitar; Pat Collins, bass; Barry Elmes, drums. (6) Alex Dean, tenor; Mark Eisenman, piano; Kieran Overs, bass; Elmes, drums.
Stanstill, Windows, Stan's Blues, You're Blasé, I'm All for You, Parker 51, Three Little Words, 517, Whatever Stan Wants, You Go to My Head, Max's Mambo, A Beautiful Bunch of Guys
Reprinted with permission from Marge Hofacre's Jazz News