Almost fifteen years after the death of tenor saxophonist Stanley Gayetzky, aka Stan Getz, the sheer breadth of his musical accomplishments still boggles the mind. Thus it was with some skepticism that I began to listen to Speaking of Stan, tenor man Mark Colby's tribute to the man about whom Trane said, "Let's face it. We would all play like him, if we could. Colby, however, succeeds masterfully in capturing a good bit of the essence of Getz, due in no small part to his own superb tone, providing an intimate take on his friend and mentor.
Over twenty other musicians aid Colby in presenting his paean. He has chosen well, and although a sax/guitar pairing akin to Getz' famous collaborations is lacking, much else is here. "Blue Getz Blues is an awesomely cooking big band reprise of a swinger from Getz's early days with Woody Herman (Early Autumn, Capitol, 1949) and the string arrangements of Focus (Verve, 1961) are tenderly reminisced through the newly penned compositions "When It Matters and "Give and Take.
Former Getz pianist Jim McNeely appears on four cuts, soulfully dueting with Colby on a stunningly sincere rendering of a tender "Goodbye, coolly swinging on "How Deep is the Ocean and "Sometime Ago and, yes, adding to the bop festivities of Colby's own "What is a Buddha? . Vibraphonist Dick Sisto assists in bringing bossa/samba to the fore with a breezy interpretation of Benny Carter's "Only Trust Your Heart and a hot construction of Chick Corea's "Sea Journey by way of Eric Hochberg's bass and Bob Rummage's drums, while Gary Burton's "Out of Focus injects a more modern edge into the proceedings. Colby's spoken outro adds a finishing touch to this highly personal portrait.
Track Listing: When It Matters; Only Trust Your Heart; How Deep Is the Ocean; Sometime Ago; What Is a Buddha?; Sea Journey; Out of Focus; Give and Take; Blue Getz Blues; Goodbye; Speaking of Stan.
Personnel: Mark Colby: tenor saxophone; Tracks 1,8: Jim Trompeter: piano; Eric Hochberg: bass; Bob
Rummage: drums; Peter LaBella, Kevin Case, Teresa Fream, Mike Shelton: violin; Terri Van
Valkinburgh: viola; Pete Szczepanek: cello; Tracks 2,6,7: Dick Sisto: vibraphone; Eric
Hochberg: bass; Bob Rummage: drums; Tracks 3-5: Jim McNeely: piano; Kelly Sill: bass;
Joel Spencer: drums; Track 9: Rob Parton, Scott Wagstaff, Kirk Garrison, Mike McGrath:
trumpet; Bob Frankich, Bob Rzeszutko, Brian Budzik, Ted Hogarth: reeds; Tom Garling,
Brian Jacobi, Andy Baker: trombone; Tom Matta: bass trombone; Don Stille: piano; Tim
Fox: bass; Bob Rummage: drums; Track 10: Jim McNeely: piano.
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.