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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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At The Shrine

Verve 06025 17967076




  1. Flamingo
  2. Lover Man
  3. Pernod
  4. Tasty Pudding
  5. I'll Remember April
  6. Polka Dots And Moonbeams
  7. Open Country
  8. It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Go That Swing)
  9. We'll Be Together Again
  10. Feather Merchant

Stan Getz (tenor saxophone); Bob Brookmeyer (valve trombone); John Williams (piano); Bill Anthony (bass); Frank Isola, Art Mardigan (drums)
rec. November 1954, Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, CA

In current parlance let me ask a question: how cool is it to be introduced by the Duke? That must have been the question Stan Getz asked himself that night in November 1954 at the Shrine as he, Brookmeyer and the rhythm section got down to business. Duke was there because he and his band, the Brubeck quartet, the Mulligan quartet and Getz-Brookmeyer were on a Norman Granz trans-continental tour.

Duke being of the (verbally) cool school himself, his laconic intro serves as a brief but audible hors d’oeuvre to the concert. This is a consummate example of the fluid front line interplay that was generated by both men. On Lover Man the bluesy counterpoint is calibrated with the utmost sensitivity and lyrical poise. On Tasty Pudding, a slow and nuanced Blues, we hear Getz’s ethereal lightness, as well as the rhythmic sagacity of Brookmeyer, whose punchier, more restless rovings contrast well with his front line partner. I doubt John Williams could have been too happy with his piano – it sounds terrible – but he copes well.

Throughout, the level of counterpoint, exchanges and solos is eminently high. Getz varies his tonal responses to the music, such as for instance broadening his tone on I'll Remember April. Brookmeyer’s sprightly up tempo Open Country receives a regal reading before, following a jokey introduction by Master of Ceremonies Getz, Duke’s It Don't Mean A Thing is taken at a fair lick. The last two songs were recorded in the studio the following day. Williams proves a really adept piano stylist on that nice ballad We'll Be Together Again and his playing here proves what an adventurous listener and thinker he was.

The Shrine date was a splendid example of this group going at full tilt, fusing straight ahead swing with more lyrical aeration. I’ve not mentioned the tight knit rhythm section much other than to point out Williams, but these well known names are truly at one in the group. At seventy minutes this retro styled, gatefold reissue is an essential purchase, should you not already have it.

Jonathan Woolf

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