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Getz Playing With Distinction
on 19 June 2012
Avid have produced another budget compilation of four Getz albums on 2 discs with digital remastering producing superb sound. (Focus and Cool Velvet were recorded in stereo). They vary in style but the common denominator is the sublime tenor saxophonist Stan Getz.
Some of these have been presented in various forms over the years (Focus,The Soft Swing,West Coast Jazz). What we have here is the core of the classic albums.
1: FOCUS. Recorded in New York over 3 months late 1961 and released in 1962. Composed and arranged by Eddie Sauter and the orchestra conducted by Hershy Kay. There were no written parts for Getz, his improvisation gliding above the strings.
He is in stunning form. From his entrance on 'I'm Late-I'm Late', this is clearly special. The track tacks together the only 2 takes of the composition. Whether taking the faster 'Night Rider', or the delicate ballads 'Her' (dedicated to Stan's mother), 'I Remember When' and 'A Summer Afternoon', Stan is masterful. This was apparently the album that Stan Getz was most proud of.
2: THE SOFT SWING. These tracks were the last recorded by Stan before he left America for Copenhagen. The numbers are the New York recordings (July 1957) that appeared on one side of the original release (plus Pocono Mac). Mose Allison(p), Addison Farmer(b),Jerry Segal(d). The other side of the original was recorded in Hollywood with different backing. Getz takes the reins with a highly individual 'All The Things You Are' and a fine interpretation of the much-recorded 'To The Ends Of The Earth'. Mose Allison plays some earthy 12 bar piano on 'Down Beat'.
3: WEST COAST JAZZ. These numbers were amongst those played in Zardi's, a leading jazz club in Hollywood. Conte Condoli(t), Lou Levy(p),Leroy Vinnegar(b), Shelley Manne(d). Stan Getz is in supreme form. His solo on 'Shine' is still remarkable and one of his finest recorded. His improvisation is so inventive that even the excellent and underated Condoli is left clutching for air when it is his turn to follow. Levy takes on most of the donkey work. There are no drum or bass solos. Getz's playing throughout is highly creative. Expanded versions of these are found on later releases with alternate takes.They are so different it is clear the originals were almost entirely off-the cuff based on loose lines.
4: COOL VELVET. Getz with strings arranged by Russ Garcia (March 1960). All ballads played beautifully and with apparent ease by the tenor. Typical examples are 'The Thrill Is Gone', 'Round Midnight','It Never Entered My Mind' and the closing 'Nature Boy'. Almost background music if not for the melodic Getz and the delighful arrangements.
An excellent compilation of different settings from a monumental artist.