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Stan Getz Quartet With Chet Baker: Quintessence, Vol. 1

Jim Santella By

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What a pair! Stan Getz and Chet Baker in 1983 before a live audience in Norway. Two icons of the jazz world performing standards. With talk of a pending feature-length movie about Chet Baker fresh on the horizon, remembering his clean trumpet sound and his singing voice at this time seems quite appropriate. Baker left us in 1988. Getz passed away in 1991. The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation originally broadcast this performance, and Concord has recreated the sound exceptionally well for the session’s CD debut. Backing Getz and Baker is one of the finest rhythm sections in jazz circles: Jim McNeeley, George Mraz, and Victor Lewis.

Loose and with a dripping-wet fluid approach, the trumpet and tenor saxophone interact on "Star Eyes" with sweet mature phrases that are full of life. The fire ignites on "But Not For Me" as McNeeley and Mraz follow Getz. It’s a solid example of one artist pumping up the next soloist through his building intensity. The piece ends with Lewis cranking out explosive fours. Baker sings and scats on half the tracks. While distinctive, the "stuffy nose" quality of Baker’s voice fails to fit in with this lineup. His scat singing is somewhat more appropriate. The quintet is particularly impressive on the instrumental numbers, whether charging straight ahead, as on "Dizzy Atmosphere" or when jogging along to a Latin rhythm, as on "Stablemates."


Track Listing: I

Personnel: Stan Getz- tenor saxophone; Jim McNeeley- piano; George Mraz- acoustic bass; Victor Lewis- drums; Chet Baker- trumpet, vocals.

Title: Quintessence, Vol. 1 | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Concord Music Group

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