Stan Getz, (1927-1991), is revered as one of the premier saxophone players in American Jazz history. He is best remembered as an adherent of the bebop and cool jazz movements but for a few years during the mid-1960’s he helped fuse American jazz with Brazilian bossa nova. His two albums with guitarist/vocalist Joao Gilberto helped establish a new art form. Their first release, 1964’s Getz/Gilberto won six Grammy Awards and was one of the best-selling jazz albums of the 1960’s.
During May of 1976 Getz managed to convince the elusive Gilberto to perform with him in a series of concerts at the legendary Keystone Jazz Club in San Francisco. During the club’s 11 year existence owner Todd Barkan recorded thousands of hours of music by a who’s-who of jazz musicians. Now those tapes are gradually being remastered and released. The latest is Getz/Gilberto ’76.
The duo is backed by Getz’s trio of pianist Joanne Brackeen, bassist Clint Houston, and drummer Billy Hart. The sound is excellent considering the haphazard recording process. A 32 page booklet fills in the history of the music and club.
Today bossa nova may seem a bit dated and quaint and outside what is normally considered classic jazz but it was a major style in South America and remains relevant down to the present day.
The concerts would begin and end with Getz’s quartet but in between Gilberto would sit in with the foursome. The 13 tracks represent one version of every song they performed together. “Aguas de Branco e Preto,” “Joao Marcelo,” “E Preciso Perdoar,” and “Samba da Minha Terra” may not be household names to today’s fans of jazz music but they are a good introduction to the bossa nova style and sound.
Gilberto is a laid back guitarist and eccentric vocalist. Getz provides the foundation for the sound with his sax improvisations.
In many ways Getz/Gilberto ’76 is a niche release but it contains some of the more creative playing of the era. If you want jazz with a different twist, this is a release for you.