Moments In Time (CD) By Stan Getz

August 31, 2016

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Moments In Time is a companion album to the recently released Getz/Gilberto ’76. During May of 1976, Stan Getz and his backing trio spent a week at San Francisco’s Keystone Korner Jazz Club. What made his stay so unique was his ability to coax reluctant live performer Joao Gilberto on stage to perform. Joao and Gilberto would perform together in the middle of the group’s set. The beginning and the end of the performances would just be the Stan Getz Quartet.

The first release covered the duo together and focused on their Bossa Nova work of a decade earlier. Now, the performances of saxophonist Getz, pianist Joanne Brackeen, bassist Clint Houston, and drummer Billy Hart are presented for the first time after sitting in the vaults for nearly four-decades.

Getz without Gilberto returns to a more straight-forward approach. He was about to enter one of the most creative periods of his career and these tracks show a mature musician practicing his craft with a group of musicians who were talented but who would rarely play together again as a quartet.

Tracks such as “Summer Night,” “The Cry Of The Wild Goose,” “Con Alma,” and “Morning Star” all find a relaxed Getz telling a story with his music.

Moments In Time is an apt title as it presents a glimpse of a jazz master at his live best.


Getz/Gilberto ’76: Moments In Time By Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto

June 23, 2016

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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.


Stan Getz/Cal Tjader Sextet by The Stan Getz/Cal Tjader Sextet

April 1, 2011

Stan Getz and Cal Tjader were two of the younger superstars of jazz when they decided to record an album together during 1958.

Stan Getz (1927-1991) is remembered as one of the premier jazz saxophonists of the second half of the 20th century. He first came to prominence during the late 1940s, as a member of Woody Herman’s band. By the mid-1950s, he had stepped out on his own as the leader of various small groups.

A practitioner of what is known as bebop and cool jazz; Getz would continue to produce creative and commercially successful music until his death at the age of 64. Despite his storied jazz career, today he may be best remembered for his 1964 hit single with vocalist Astrud Gilberto, “The Girl From Ipanema.” It would win the 1965 Grammy Award for Record of the Year.

Callen Radcliffe Tjader Junior (1925-1982) came to prominence as a drummer for the Dave Brubeck Octet, following his military service during the Second World War. He would go on to play with George Shearing during the early 1950s. By the mid 1950s, he had made the vibes his instrument of choice and was leading his own groups. He quickly became a leading figure in the fusion of Afro-Cuban music and jazz.

Tjader and Getz had traveled in the same circles and so in 1958, decided to record an album together. They were joined by pianist Vince Guaraldi, guitarist Eddie Duran, bassist Scott Lafaro, and drummer Billy Higgins; and so the Stan Getz/Cal Tjader Sextet was born.

Their 1958 release has now been reissued as a part of the Original Jazz Classics Remasters Series. As with the other releases in the series, the sound has been remastered and comes across clear and pristine. The original liner notes are included, as is an extended essay, which gives a nice history of the album and music. The only major difference is the lack of bonus tracks. Guitarist Eddie Duran is the only surviving musician and he has stated there were no second takes, no rehearsals, and no additional material. The seven songs that comprised the original album was the entire output of this group.

The opening track is an 11-minute version of Guaraldi’s “Ginza Samba.” It was a perfect choice to fit the styles of Getz and Tjader. It is long enough for Tjader, Getz, Duran and Guaraldi to all step forward and take solos.

Tjader would contribute three original compositions. ”Crow’s Nest” would contain bassist Scott Lafaro’s only solo, but it would be one of the better ones of the late 1950s. Lafaro would join the legendary Bill Evans Trio during 1959 and quickly emerge as one of the most influential jazz bass players.

Ten days after they recorded two of the best live albums in jazz history, Sunday At The Village Vanguard and Waltz For Debby, he would die in a car accident at the age of 25. This album catches Lafaro at the beginning of his short but brilliant career.

Tjader’s “Liz Anne” and “Big Bear” are shorter and more structured and catch Getz at his best. The group’s cover of the old standard, “I’ve Grown Accustomed To Your Face,” features a gentle performance by Tjader, as he steps out of his support role and moves front and center. Interpretations of “My Buddy” and “For All We Know” complete the album.

The Stan Getz/Cal Tjader Sextet was of those quickly put-together releases that worked well in the studio, as it holds up well over 50 years later. An essential release for any fan of jazz music.

Article first published as Music Review: Stan Getz/Cal Tjader – Stan Getz/Cal Tjader Sextet [Remastered] on Blogcritics.