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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby




Stan Getz

Portrait

Blue Classic line saban crescendo 7269

 

 

  1. My old flame
  2. Crazy Chords

  3. Gone with the Wind

  4. Yesterdays

  5. Strike Up the Band

  6. You Go to My Head

  7. Out of Nowhere

  8. Intoit

  9. Indian summer

  10. Long Island sound

  11. The Lady in Red

  12. Too Marvellous for Words

  13. I’ve Got You Under My Skin

  14. What’s New

  15. Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams

  16. You Stepped out of a Dream

This is a portrait of Stan Getz in 1949/50, but Stan’s playing is instantly recognisable whichever period in his long career you listen to. As he got older there was more intensity to his playing, but the sound and his approach to improvisation remained constant. His background, his parents were Russian Jews who immigrated to the USA, probably helped to give his unique style and although there is some evidence that he was aware of what Lester Young was playing, he is unique in jazz history.

By accounts from his contemporaries, Stan was not the easiest man to get on with, which may account for why there were so many changes in the line up of his Quartet for the various sessions from 1950. As he was the best around everyone wanted to play in his band, but not for too long. He demanded perfection from his sidemen in the same way that he naturally gave it.

On this CD, Tony Aless, Al Haig, and Horace Silver are the pianists, every one of them a top soloist in his own right. Percy Heath shares the bass playing with,

Gene Ramey, Tommy Potter and Joe Calloway and the same is true of them and drummers Don Lamond, Stan Levey, Roy Haynes, Walter Bolden.

The musical content is as you would expect from Stan, exquisite, whilst most people sound better in the 3.5 minute format on the 78rpm records that these were, Stan benefited greatly from being able to stretch out as he did when the LP records came along.

This album is essential listening for all aspiring tenor sax players, the improvisations closely follow the chord sequence of the original tune, but are never restricted by them and his technique is breathtaking. These records influenced tenor sax players greatly until John Coltrane arrived and the current style of playing a million notes in every performance took over. Happily we are beginning to hear a few young Getz influenced tenor sax players again.

A favourite track is hard to identify, but Small Hotel is a tune that most improvisers seem to shy away from, but it sounds easy when Stan plays it!

Don Mather



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