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Go straight to Disc Four!,
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This review is from: The Bossa Nova Years: The Girl From Ipanema (Audio CD)
Though most of the playing on the first three discs is exquisite and poised, I can partly sympathise with those jazz-fans who might find the music a little bland and middle-of-the-road.
However, CD Four is largely given over to Getz's 1963 session with guitarist Laurindo Almeida - and here the saxophonist is far more extrovert and forceful (without ever being inappropriately brutal, needless to say!) His deployment of a wider range of attack and tone-colour - and especially his vivid sequences of staccato notes - give his solos an exhilarating spontaneity, a kick and a bite that elsewhere is often lacking. Almeida's breaks, though not exactly jazz solos, offer beautifully chorded paraphrases of the themes (half of them his own compositions). Steve Kuhn is listed as the pianist on all seven tracks, but I hear him on only three: depending on how indulgent one feels, his contributions will sound either dreamily impressionistic, or inconsequential and unfocussed!
The other discs include the 1962-3 Getz LPs "Jazz Samba" (with Charlie Byrd), "Big Band Bossa Nova" (with Gary McFarland's band), "Jazz Samba Encore" (with Luiz Bonfa) and "Getz/Gilberto" (with Antonio Carlos Jobim, as well as both Joao and Astrud Gilberto). As long as one resists the temptation to treat it as background music, there is much to savour here: the gently undulating rhythms, the rich harmonies, the fine guitar work of Byrd and Bonfa, the seductively understated vocals from Astrud and Joao, the subtly infectious Brazilian percussion ... and of course Stan's (almost too) perfectly balanced solos.
The booklet explains that the supposed "live" album from 1964, "Getz Au Go Go " (with Astrud, and brilliant young Gary Burton on vibes), actually consisted of "studio material plus phony applause". For this CD set, only genuine live tracks (some previously unissued) are included - though even there a footnote states some of Astrud's vocals were added later!