Jazz Samba is the first, but now possibly least famous, of the works by the famous samba populist and saxophonist, Stan Getz. Here he collaborates with the guitarist Charlie Byrd to produce, in my opinion, his finest Samba album.
Unlike the later Getz/Gilberto, Getz/Byrd has no vocal content and relies on swinging samba melodies and dexterous interplay between these masters of jazz sax and guitar. In tempo, it ranges from the boisterous E Luxo So, through the never-bettered Desafinado to the melancholic and beautiful Samba Triste.
Getz's samba does not engage the listener like other jazz forms. Its Brazilian rhythms fade naturally into the background, making it ideal for sophisticated party music. Given the right conditions however (a sultry summer evening, a cool glass of Cachaca in a quiet bar, or a bout of introspection on tumultuous passions of life) it leaps out and grabs you and won't let go.
Bolstered by his success in the pop charts, Getz went on to make a number of samba LPs, including the now famous Getz/Giberto in 1964, which featured Joao Gilberto on guitar, Antonio Jobim on piano and the raw vocal talent of Astrud Gilberto (famous now for The Girl From Ipanema). This work was possibly more pop than jazz and, while still excellent, it does not grab me quite like the original.
Whether the Getz/Byrd is jazz or not is also open to question, but by god it sure is good!