Stan Getz was having a rather exceptional summer of 1990 when this performance took place at The Munich Philharmonic Hall in Germany. He had successfully recovered from removal of a malignant tumor and it appeared the subsequent cancer on his liver was beginning to wane thanks to a strict macrobiotic diet. He had been sober for five years, he had a new love in his life and, best of all, his chops were still in tact. Listening to this two-CD set, you can almost feel the exuberance that a revitalized Getz felt at this time. He is upbeat and his trademark lyricism sounds undiminished by his 63 self-destructive years in the jazz world. But while this is a wonderful farewell to a jazz giant, The Final Concert Recording is by no means a retrospective on the career of Stan Getz. A total of five tracks here were culled from Getz's syrupy 1989 release Apacionado. On that album, songs like the title track and "Coba" were rendered impotent by syrupy arrangements and the replacement of strings for synthesizers on this recording doesn't make them any more appealing. More interesting for Getz fans is his breezy version of Miles Davis' "Seven Steps To Heaven" and the selections from the Getz songbook. Pianist Kenny Barron played with Getz on many of his latter day songs and he sounds exquisite here. His acoustic duets with Getz on tracks like "Lonely Lady" and "Voyage" are superb and they easily erase the memory of the synthesized tracks. There is a studio polish to the entire show, but as far as "The Sound" is concerned, the fullness of tone and melodic swing of Stan Getz can be heard untarnished on tracks like "Soul Eyes," "Yours And Mine" and the Billy Strayhorn composition "Blood Count." But the cool fire of Getz soloing on "What Is This Thing Called Love?" is the best indicator of how much Getz still had to offer when cancer finally consumed him in June of 1991.
Track Listing: Apasionado/On A Slow Boat To China/Soul Eyes/Espagnira/Coba/Seven Steps To Heaven/El Cajon/Yours And Mine/Voyage/Lonely Lady/Blood Count/What Is This Thing Called Love?/People Time/Amorous Cat
Personnel: Stan Getz, tenor saxophone; Kenny Barron, piano; Alex Blake, bass; Terri Lyne Carrington, drums; Eddie Del Barrio, synthesizer; Frank Zottoli, synthesizer.
I love jazz because it swings.
I was first exposed to jazz in Houston.
I met Joe LoCascio and Bob Henschen.
The best show I ever attended was Pat Martino.
The first jazz record I bought was Time Out by the Dave Brubeck Quartet.
My advice to new listeners is to relax on 2 and 4 beats.