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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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STAN GETZ

Three Classic Albums Plus

Avid AMSC 997

 

 


CD1
Stan Getz & the Oscar Peterson Trio
1. I Want To Be Happy
2. Pennies From Heaven
3. Ballad Medley:
        Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered
        I Don’t Know Why, I Just Do
        How Long Has This Been Going On?
        I Can’t Get Started
        Polka Dots and Moonbeams
4. I’m Glad There Is You
5. Tour’s End
6. I Was Doing All Right
7. Bronx Blues
8. Sunday
9. Detour Ahead
10. Three Little Words
11. Blues for Herky
Hamp & Getz
12. Jumpin’ At The Woodside
13. Ballad Medley:
        Tenderly
        Autumn in New York
        East of the Sun
        I Can’t Get Started

CD2
1. Louise
2. Cherokee
3. Gladys
Jazz Giants
4. Chocolate Sundae
5. When Your Lover Has Gone
6. Candy
7. Ballad Medley:
        Lush Life
        Lullaby of the Leaves
        Makin’ Whoopee
        It Never Entered My Mind
8. Woody 'n' You
9. Gladys (Alternative take of track 3)


Stan Getz: Tenor sax
Oscar Peterson (tracks I/1-11, II/4-8)
Ray Brown - Bass (tracks I/1-11, II/4-8)
Herb Ellis - Guitar (tracks I/1-11, II/4-8)
Lionel Hampton - Vibes (tracks I/12, 13, II/1-3, 9)
Lou Levy - Piano (tracks I/12, 13, II/1-3, 9)
Leroy Vinnegar - Bass (tracks I/12, 13, II/1-3, 9)
Shelly Manne - Drums (tracks I/12, 13, II/1-3, 9)
Harry Edison - Trumpet (tracks II/4-8)
Gerry Mulligan - Baritone sax (tracks II/4-8)
Louie Bellson - Drums (tracks II/4-8)


Another cornucopia of recordings of the kind that Norman Granz organised in the 1950s. They provide a good representation of Stan Getz's style: matching Lester Young in relaxed ease and avoiding showiness in favour of understated warmth.

The first eleven tracks come from a 1957 session with the Oscar Peterson Trio, although only the first seven were on the original LP. Besides Getz's improvisational facility, this session illustrates Oscar Peterson's abilities not only as a soloist but also as a sympathetic accompanist. Note how, at the end of Getz's solos on I Want To Be Happy and Sunday, Oscar picks up the end of Stan's solo and develops his own solo from it. This ensures continuity and enhances the swing generated by his trio. In their solos, both Getz and Peterson allude indirectly to many other tunes, often without actually quoting them directly - a sign of the rich melodies they carry in their heads.

The traditional "Ballad Medley" (which Norman Granz made a regular feature) enables all four musicians to show their paces at slow tempos. Stan Getz bookends the medley with tender readings of Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered and Polka Dots and Moonbeams. Herb Ellis's interpretation of I Don't Know Why is backed simply by the strong bass of Ray Brown, and the roles are reversed for Ray's solo on I Can't Get Started. And Peterson gets plenty of emotion from the Gershwins' How Long Has This Been Going On?

Tour's End gives a new feel to Sweet Georgia Brown with an unusual riff. Of the tracks which were not on the original LP, Stan Getz's Blues for Herky stands out as it takes the group outside their usual comfort zone, with Getz and Ellis improvising on the blues and Peterson playing a boogie-woogie rhythm.

The next five tracks come from the 1955 album Hamp and Getz, recorded in 1955 in Los Angeles, when both jazzmen were in the city for the filming of The Benny Goodman Story. The extrovert Hampton and the "cool" Getz may seem like chalk and cheese, but they work together without clashing. Getz seems to have caught some of Hamp's exuberance, as they combine to produce happy, swinging jazz. Hampton's enthusiasm manages to spin out every track, so that each of them lasts around eight minutes. Stan enters into the spirit of the up-tempo Jumpin' at the Woodside, displaying remarkable fluency. There is also a sort of double Ballad Medley, where Stan and Lionel perform a couple of tunes each.

Louise exhibits Getz's furry tone to fine effect and Cherokee uses a famous variant melody taken at a frantic speed. Both Hampton and Getz seem to revel in Lionel's composition Gladys, a simple but catchy 12-bar theme which supplies lots of room for extemporization. There is an alternate take of this tune at the end of the compilation. Sadly, the collection omits another track called Headache which was recorded at the same session and included on some reissues of the Hamp and Getz album. The recording was made in Los Angeles, and the rhythm section comprises musicians well-known for their West Coast connections, although they stay mainly in the background.

Tracks 4 to 8 on the second CD come from a 1957 LP recorded in New York and entitled Jazz Giants. Stan Getz is joined in the front line by trumpeter Harry Edison and baritone saxist Gerry Mulligan, and the Oscar Peterson trio is augmented by drummer Louie Bellson. Ray Brown's sturdy double bass opens Chocolate Sundae (a slowish blues) to be joined by Mulligan's gruff saxophone. The guitar and piano solos which follow are both relaxed. The plaintive sound of Stan Getz's tenor sax in his solo makes him the tenor equivalent of Jimmy Giuffre on clarinet. Harry Edison is unostentatious and economical, throwing in some of his familiar clichés (e.g. the long-held note followed by an upward surge and a downward swirl of notes).

Oscar Peterson's easygoing piano introduces When Your Lover Has Gone, followed by outstandingly melodic solos from Getz, Edison (on muted trumpet) and Mulligan. Candy is equally enticing: laid-back jazz of the highest quality. Then there's yet another Ballad Medley, with Gerry Mulligan taking on Lush Life, Edison caressing Lullaby of the Leaves, Ray Brown soloing on Makin' Whoopee, and Getz topping the whole thing off with a beautiful It Never Entered my Mind. The session ends with a cheery Woody 'n' You, where Oscar is in his element, backed by the bongo-drums effect of Herb Ellis's guitar. As he has done throughout this album, Stan Getz demonstrates his inventiveness and ability to swing mightily without going over the top.

Tony Augarde



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