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Jazz in the Aquarian Age

Stan Getz: I'm Gonna Blow the Walls Down

By Published: March 20, 2012
SG: It was just one of those naturals that falls in to place. When you get guys like Jimmy Rowles, Buster Williams
Buster Williams
Buster Williams
, and Philly Joe Jones
Philly Joe Jones
Philly Joe Jones
1923 - 1985
, you can practically do no wrong. That whole record was done in two and a half hours. We just went in and that was it. To me there's something good about getting the first take, even if there are mistakes in it. There's a feeling of newness; it's fresh.

JAA: You've been very interested in improving the quality of recording wih your own work and with the artists you produce, and I hear that work is almost completed on the recording studio you're having built near your home.

SG: Yes, and it will be a fully equipped professional studio that will have something I've wanted to have in a studio for a long time. It will have windows facing out into the country to take away from the pressurized cabin atmosphere you find in so many other studios. It will have a swimming pool, a sauna, a kitchen, a bedroom a, and a fireplace, yet it will be a professional studio.

We're going to have a conventional 24-track board, but besides that, we're also going to have a four-track board, and we will be using excellent microphones that are made in Denmark—they reproduce the music exactly. Four acoustic jazz and classical music, this four- track approach sounds a hundred times better than today's conventional recording technique. And the way we will be recording is truly better than direct-to-disk; I've compared.

JAA: Are you still using that digital-delay echo device you experimented with on Another World?

SG: I'm having a machine built to travel on the road. It will be made from a tape recorder that the German army uses aon field maneuvers, and it's indestructible.

I'm still going to use that device. I've only used it on the two records, and I tried it on the road, but I've had inferior machines.

JAA: With the use of multiple tracking, you achieved a similar sound with your work on Mickey One, the soundtrack for the Arthur Penn and Warren Beatty film, in 1965. Did that echo effect appeal to you then?

SG: Sure. If it's musical and it's interesting, I say, "Let it go down." But nothing false. That's not false—it's just three me's.

You know, that film was intended to be the greatest American art film since Citizen Kane. It's a shame, but it didn't quite come off.

JAA: Mickey One was one of the very first projects you got into after your long association with the bossa nova. It must have been a nice opportunity to get into something different.

SG: Well, most, most all of the bossa nova tunes I did play were very enjoyable musically. But I never played the biggest hit of them all, "The Girl from Ipanema," with my band. The chord changes of that song are the same as in "Exactly like You," the old jazz standard, and I just couldn't see playing "The Girl from Ipanema" without the vocal. The recorded version is a beautiful, lovely rendition. But I never played that with my band, because my band was a jazz band, and I would only play bossa nova if I could really swing on top of it. It's been years since that period, but people still ask me to play those tunes and get insulted when I don't. I try to make them understand that I ran out of gas on the damn thing.

JAA: Throughout your career you've always had a very individual style. When you first started making it on the jazz scene, though, you were often compared to Lester Young
Lester Young
Lester Young
1909 - 1959
. How great was his influence on you?

SG: There were other guys, but Lester was a huge influence on me. I remember the first time I met him. I was 18 and playing with Benny Goodman's band. I used to go over to hang out at 52nd Street, but nobody would let me sit in with their band. No one except for Ben Webster
Ben Webster
Ben Webster
1909 - 1973
sax, tenor
. He used to let me sit in with his quartet. And Prez heard me one night. When I came off the stage, he was in the back room. I was introduced to him, and I thought it was so nice to meet him because I thought he played so beautifully, so musically. His was a classic style. So I said to him, "It's an honor to meet you." And he said to me, "Nice eyes, Prez—carry on." He called me the "Prez."

JAA: You've been in the music business for a long time, yet you never seem to age. How do you do it?

SG: Love of music and love of life. I play what I want, and I've done all right with it. I've never really paid attention to what critics say about me. I've always gone in my own direction. Some critics just have something in their system. They have to take it out on certain artists. But I've never really cared much about what they have to say.

I'm a thoughtful player. I don't believe in blasting music. As a matter of fact, I listen mostly to classical music. There's not much jazz that turns me on. I'm a musician more than a frantic blower.

Originally published in The Aquarian Weekly, March 7-14, 1979.

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