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Here's a pleasant surprise: "previously unissued material" by tenor sax giant Stan Getz that by and large deserves to be more widely disseminated and heard. Legacy is comprised of five sessions spanning the years 1980-86, including three numbers with the Woody Herman Herd and another with Getz and pianist Jimmy Rowles performing Rowles' "The Peacocks." The other seven tracks embody three quartet dates.
While the sound is uneven, as one would expect on such a compilation, the audio's not as poor as one might presume save for the final track, "Lush Life," which sounds as though it could have been recorded in a wind tunnel instead of at NYC's Carnegie Hall, as the liner notes assert. "Desafinado" and "The Girl from Ipanema," with pianist Jim McNeely, bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Victor Lewis, are marred by excessive audience noise, while the three with pianist Larry Nash, bassist Bob Harrison and drummer John Payne Guerin are passable but no more than that. Pride of place goes to the selections with the Herman band, expertly engineered by Wally Heider. They include the standard "Easy Living," a Latin-style Bill Holman chart, "El Delfin," and the vivacious title selection.
As for the music, Getz is Getz; seldom did he give a performance that wasn't worth hearing, and that is certainly the case here. The rhythm sections are capable, but it is Getz, with his incomparable sound and fertile imagination, who raises each session above the ordinary. He's especially persuasive with Herman, gliding easily through the changes while he helps make the ensemble sound even better than usual. These tracks, it should be noted, encompass the pivotal reasons why the album is an important release, one that adds a measure of luster to the already remarkable Legacy of Stan Getz.
Track Listing: Easy Living; Milestones; The Peacocks; El Delfin; Down in Cancun; Legacy; I'll Remember April; Evening in Paris; Desafinado; The Girl from Ipanema; Lush Life.
Personnel: Stan Getz: tenor sax; The Woody Herman Big Band (1, 4, 6); Jimmy Rowles: piano (3); Larry Nash: piano (2, 5, 7, 8); Bob Harrison: bass (2, 5, 7, 8); John Guerin: drums (2, 5, 7, 8); Jim McNeely: piano (9, 10); Marc Johnson: bass (9, 10); Victor Lewis: drums (9, 10); Andy LaVerne: piano (11); Brian Bromberg: bass (11); Mike Tielen: drums (11).