Sublime early work from Stan Getz — a lyrical genius even at this early point in his career ! There's a subtle brilliance here that's undeniable — a tenor sound that draws from Lester Young and Ben Webster, but which pushes into fresh new territory for the 50s — lean, but still very soulful at the core — a blend that none of Stan's contemporaries could ever match this well ! The album features a group that includes a very young Bob Brookmeyer on valve trombone, plus rhythm by Teddy Kotick, John Williams, and Frank Isola. Tracks are longish and easily swinging — and Getz's tone, as always, makes the whole thing come together like magic!
Stan Getz is heard with a variety of different groups in live recordings made while he was living in Denmark in the late '50s. His meeting with Oscar Pettiford is primarily a feature for the bassist in Pettiford's "Laverne Walk." Pianist Bent Axen is a capable partner for the tenor saxophonist, leading a trio to back Getz through a buoyant rendition of Coleman Hawkins' "Stuffy" and playful romps through "Fine and Dandy" and "Lester Leaps In." Getz is accompanied by Ib Glindemann & His Orchestra for several standards and the obscurity "Rain." The audio quality varies widely, seeming to come from broadcasts and location recordings, though not all of the source material has aged equally well. Still, this facet of Stan Getz's career is not to be overlooked, and any sonic shortcomings can be easily forgiven.
Digitally remastered two-fer containing a pair of albums from the Jazz great on one CD: Interpretations By the Stan Getz Quintet and Interpretations By the Stan Getz Quintet #2. Both albums (which were 10-inch LPs) were given a 5-star rating in Down Beat magazine. Three additional tracks have also been included which complete all of the master takes recorded by this exact formation of the quintet, with Bob Brookmeyer, John Williams, Teddy Kotick, and Frank Isola.
Basically, what you see is what you get: all of the recordings Stan Getz did for the Norgran and Clef between December of 1952 and January of 1955. Most of this material has been issued several times – at least – by numerous labels legally and illegally. What makes the Hip-O Select set the definitive issue is, besides proper licensing, that all of these cuts, the 10" albums – Stan Getz Plays, The Artistry of Stan Getz, all three Interpretations volumes, and Stan Getz & the Cool Sounds – along with all the single and EP releases for a total of 45 sides – three of them previously unreleased – and a pair of studio cuts that appeared on the otherwise live Stan Getz at the Shrine appear in chronological order.
This two-CD sampler is most highly recommended for listeners not familiar with Stan Getz's recordings of the 1950s and '60s. Starting with a version of "Stella by Starlight" that co-stars guitarist Jimmy Raney, this set matches Getz's cool tenor with such artists as trumpeters Dizzy Gillespie and Conte Candoli, trombonist J.J. Johnson, baritonist Gerry Mulligan, pianists Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans and Chick Corea, valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer and vibraphonist Gary Burton. Also included are his two main bossa nova hits "Desafinado" and "The Girl from Ipanema" along with a couple of tracks from Getz's highly-rated Focus album. It's a fine overview of the great tenor's middle years.
Though in 1963 some purists considered Reflections to be certain evidence that Stan Getz had sold out and abandoned "real jazz" completely, the album is actually, while perhaps not a masterpiece, an artful and intriguing sidebar to the tenor saxophonist's now celebrated bossa nova period. Getz was always a sublimely smooth and lyrical player who had already recorded in an orchestral setting on the groundbreaking Focus, and had a number one pop hit with Jazz Samba. It was only natural, then, that he would want to combine the two concepts.
When Stan Getz visited Paris to witness the French Open tennis matches, he would hang out at the Blue Note nightclub to hear how the locals did it, being told their jazz scene was not up to snuff. In London, he would pick up the European band he heard in Paris for an engagement at Ronnie Scott's. Because of his stature, Getz was able to grab the very best musicians the continent could provide, in this case the brilliant Belgian guitarist René Thomas, organist Eddy Louiss from Martinique, and French classical and jazz drummer Bernard Lubat.
One of the more remarkable aspects of Stan Getz's 1972 masterpiece is just how organic he was able to keep the sound. The band surrounding Getz on this Columbia date was led by Chick Corea with his Return to Forever (electric) bassist Stanley Clarke, drummer Tony Williams, and Brazilian master percussionist Airto. With the exception of Clarke, all the rest had played with Miles Davis in his then-experimental electric bands. Corea's Return to Forever was just getting itself off the fusion ground, while Williams had been with John McLaughlin and Larry Young in Lifetime on top of his experience with Davis.