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Focus on Stan Getz

Florence Wetzel By

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Tenor saxophonist Stan Getz (1927-1991) is one of the most important jazz stylists of the last century. Schooled in the '40s big bands of Teagarden, Kenton, and others, Getz first rose to prominence as part of the "Four Brothers." In the '50s he was one of the defining voices of West Coast jazz and cool, and in the early '60s he ushered in bossa nova with his monster hits "The Girl from Ipanema" and "Desafinado." Not content to rest in his fame, Getz experimented with third-stream music and fusion, and in the '80s formed a successful collaboration with pianist Kenny Barron.

Stan Getz

Bossas and Ballads: The Lost Sessions

Verve

2004 (1989)

Three new releases testify to the continuing interest in Getz and his music. Dating from 1989, Bossas and Ballads: The Lost Sessions was a quartet recording originally intended as Getz's A&M Records' debut, but was shelved for the more elaborate Apasionado. Part of the magic of this music comes from Getz' partnership with Kenny Barron, whom Getz called "the other half of my musical heart." Two of the most lyrical players in jazz, Getz and Barron intertwine beautifully, their music poignant and understated. Five of the CD's nine songs are Barron originals, notable for their lovely melodies and harmonic depth. There's also beautiful renditions of Mal Waldron's "Soul Eyes" and Sam Rivers' "Beatrice." Bossas and Ballads is a solid work from Getz' late career, an unearthed gem of melodic beauty.

Stan Getz

Live in London: Volume 2

Harkit Records

2004 (1964)

Live in London, Volume 2 —an offering from the successful Live in London series—is a recording of Getz's spring 1964 engagement at Ronnie Scott's famous club. The performance finds Getz in mid-career at full power, fresh from his bossa nova classic Jazz Samba. The ten songs include "Desafinado," "Summertime," "Limehouse Blues," "What Is This Thing Called Love?" and "I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart." The CD displays Getz' impeccable ballad work, but it's also a pleasure to hear him burn his way through "What Is This Thing Called Love?" and swing fiercely on "Limehouse Blues." One of the highlights is, of course, "Desafinado"—who can resist Getz playing bossa nova? The CD is rounded off by a seven-minute interview with Getz, offering an intriguing glimpse into his mercurial personality. Altogether Live in London, Volume 2 offers a wide range of Getz's work infused with the energy of a live club date.

Ernie Krivda

Focus on Stan Getz: Live at Severance Hall

Cadence Jazz Records

2004

One of Getz's finest musical achievements was his early '60s collaboration with composer Eddie Sauter, which culminated in the 1962 album Focus. A third-stream composition consisting of a suite in six parts, "Focus" has been sorely neglected by musicians in recent decades. Saxophonist Ernie Krivda is righting that wrong with his excellent new CD, Focus on Stan Get,z which contains the complete "Focus" suite, recorded in 1998 in Cleveland's famed Severance Hall. Jazz has a long history of successful and unsuccessful mergers with string instruments, but "Focus" is one of the former, an unselfconscious joining of the two worlds. Krivda's saxophone explores the musical freedom so essential to jazz, with the orchestra providing support and inspiration. The CD is rounded out by three quartet pieces, "Stan's Blues," "El Grande Amor," and "Yesterdays," featuring Krivda with former Getz sidemen Andy LaVerne (piano), Rufus Reid (bass) and Adam Nussbaum (drums). Focus is a wonderful example of homage, using inspiration from the master to both honor his legacy and create something new; it wouldn't be possible without Getz, but it also wouldn't be possible without Krivda, an excellent saxophonist in his own right.

Bossas and Ballads

Tracks: 1. Sunshower, 2. Yours and Mine, 3. Joanne Julia, 4. Soul Eyes, 5. Spiral, 6. Beatrice, 7. The Wind, 8. El Sueno, 9. Feijoada.

Personnel: Stan Getz (saxophone), Kenny Barron (piano), George Mraz (bass), Victor Lewis (drums).

Live in London, Volume 2

Tracks: 1. Introduction by Ronnie Scott, 2. What Is This Thing Called Love? 3. Waltz For A Beautiful Wife, 4. Reflections, 5. Desafinado, 6. Here's That Rainy Day, 7. Limehouse Blues, 8. Night Rider, 9. Summertime, 10. I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart, 11. Stan Getz Interviewed by Les Tomkins.

Personnel: Stan Getz (saxophone), Stan Tracey (piano), Malcolm Cecil (bass), Jackie Dougan (drums), Allan Ganley (drums).

Focus on Stan Getz

Tracks: 1. Stan's Blues, 2. El Grande Amore, 3. Yesterdays, 4. Night Rider, 5. Pan, 6. I Remember When, 7. Her, 8. Once Upon a Time, 9. A Summer Afternoon, 10. I'm Late, I'm Late.

Personnel: Ernie Krivda (saxophone), Andy Laverne(piano),Rufus Reid (bass),Adam Nussbaum (drums) plus orchestra.

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