How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Legendary album producer Joel Dorn has negotiated a canny deal.
Hearing rumors about the existence of hundreds of tapes recorded by Baltimore's Left Bank Jazz Society, Dorn checked it out. The rumors were true. For whatever reasons, the Left Bank Jazz Society was one tough negotiator. The experienced negotiator Dorn has pursued the Society since 1986 to release some or all of its classic tapes for distribution, but to no avail.
Now that Dorn has left 32 Jazz to start his own label, Label M, the Left Bank Jazz Society fortunately has relented, giving Dorn fresh material recorded live at Baltimore's Famous Ballroom by some of the most respected names in jazz. (Dorn explains that Label M is an anagram of the first letters of the Jews he most admires: Albert Einstein, Meyer Lansky and Lenny Bruce.)
So with 200 tapes to choose from, a cornucopia of music spilling onto his tables and into recording engineer Gene Paul's magical musical enhancement machinery for digital wizardry, how would Dorn prioritize tapes of the likes of Sonny Stitt, Cedar Walton, Charles Lloyd, Freddie Hubbard and Stan Getz? Maybe he tossed a coin.
In any case, Stan Getz came out on top, which is where he belongs. With his distinctive sound that reaches the hearts of all of his listeners, now matter how sophisticated their jazz sensibilities, Getz proves one thing for sure on My Foolish Heart : He respects his audiences.
Not knowing that his performance would be recorded, let alone distributed to thousands of listeners 25 years later, Getz gives yet another classic performance, full of fire, taste, extroverted dynamics, distinctive tone, varied repertoire and heartfelt feelings that transcend mere words.
In addition, My Foolish Heart lets us eavesdrop on yet another one of Getz' top-shelf rhythm sections. A consummate artist, no matter what misgivings others may have had about his personal life, Getz seems to settle for no less than the best. Ronnie Beirich, perhaps lesser known than some of Getz' other pianists like Kenny Barron or Hank Jones, nevertheless enlightens the listener to the structures underlying Getz' improvisations while the young Holland and DeJohnette move the tunes along with a natural unified grace. "My Foolish Heart," the song, demonstrates the camaraderie of Getz' quartets as he beseeches the listener to more than hear, but to empathize, the underlying tension highlighting the depth of feeling behind the performance in spite of the dynamic simplicity of the melody.
Now the Label M is rolling, we may expect to hear even more never-before-heard performances on the same level of excellence as My Foolish Heart. That's good news for newer generations of jazz listeners who can't remember these influential masters in their prime. And that's good news for Getz devotees, for example, who continue to be astounded by his still-growing voluminous discography and by his uncompromising level of quality.
Invitation, Untitled, Spring Is Here, Litha, Lucifer's Fall, My Foolish Heart, Fiesta
Stan Getz, tenor sax; Richie Beirach, piano; Dave Holland, bass; Jack DeJohnette, drums