This is the second of two albums Evans & Getz recorded together, and infinitely superior to the earlier meeting in 1964. The live setting pulls the best out of both musicians, once Evans gets over his annoyance on having 'Stan's Blues' sprung unannounced upon him.
The slower/ballad numbers are things of real beauty, with the sax and piano carving out melody lines of gossamer wonder: 'Lover Man', 'Emily' and the title track are all enchanting. The more up-tempo pieces are equally successful, including a tribute for Bill's birthday from Stan. The final two tracks feature Bill's trio alone, and are equally electrifying. Superb sound, with the excitement crackling from the audience, but never intruding on the luscious chords, and delicate interplay. Lovely, sensitive rhythm section work. A true classic, which would complement the new Evans Riverside collection The Riverside Years (5CD box set) Simply beautiful music-making.
This 1995 release contains material from concerts in Laren, Belgium and Middleham, Holland in August 1974. The Laren concert was rehearsed as the Bill Evans trio to be followed by the introduction of Stan as a guest. After Stan launched into an unnanounced 'Stan's Blues', Evans stopped playing, no doubt miffed. Fortunately, the Holland concert a week later seemed to have resolved matters (Getz wishing Bill 'happy birthday'). Playing in front of an audience seemed to add an extra dimension both to the Evans trio's playing but also the formidable and beautiful playing of Stan. The ballads 'But Beautiful', 'Emily', 'Lover Man' and Jimmy Rowles's 'Peacocks' leave me bereft of words other than to describe them as exquisite.
Bill Evans is masterful whether in solo mode or backing Stan. His lyricism and melodic touches are, as expected, supreme whilst at the same time the strength and command of his playing are evident both in the quartet setting and in the more familiar two trio numbers from Laren featuring the prominent bowed bass of Eddie Gomez. He and drummer Marty Morrell are impeccable in their support allowing Stan to construct his solos with total freedom and confidence.
This album brings the best out of Bill Evans and Stan Getz and ranks very highly in terms of musicianship and enjoyment. The consistency of Getz's playing is up there with his best. Highly recommended.
What can you say when two of the world's best jazz musicians get together and support each other (rather than compete). The tracks 'But Beautiful' and 'The Peacocks' alone are worth the price of the album.