By Request: Mr. Stan Getz


BEFORE THE Bossa Nova, there was this:

When I was haunting venues to see Stan Getz live around Southern California in his later years, he’d always announce his (required) bossa nova medley this way: “Now, I’m going to play Dis Here Finado” He’d pause for the laugh which always followed and then he’d sail into Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Desafinado” followed by a tightly edited/quick roundup of the bossa nova “chart-toppers” that ultimately made him world famous. What became clear was he knew he had to — but he spent the bulk of these evenings going way, way back into tunes that he’d cut his teeth on, or pieces that in some way reflected what was on his mind at the moment. (Every show I attended for years and years included the pensively beautiful Billy Strayhorn composition, “Blood Count.” It was one of Strayhorn’s last works, as he was battling cancer — and so too, at the time of these So. Cal dates, was Getz.)

Here are a few early resonant cuts that if one was lucky Getz would reach back to. These are some (not all) of my very favorites:

The first two sessions I’m posting are from recording dates in the early 50s: dates and personnel below.

From Stan Getz, Quartets, 1950 :

1) There’s a Small Hotel (Richard Rodgers / Lorenz Hart)
2) What’s New? (Bob Haggart / Johnny Burke)

Personnel: Stan Getz (tenor sax), Al Haig (piano), Tommy Potter (bass), Roy Haynes (drums)

From “Stan Getz Plays”

Personnel: Stan Getz (ts) Jimmy Raney (g) Duke Jordan (p) Bill Crow (b)
Frank Isola (ds)
Recorded: NYC, December, 1952

This piece is magical — and I won’t say much. Don’t need to.

and the lagniappe:

(and thanks John, for making the request. It was nice to dip back into this)


13 thoughts on “By Request: Mr. Stan Getz

  1. wow.

    Music that leaves you breathless. i have most of it one place or another, but you’ve queued up an especially potent mix. One piece flows seamlessly into the next. Beautiful. Reminds us why this guy was arguably the most lyrical player to pick up the instrument since Lester Young.

    Personal favorites here (if I had to pick)? There’s a Small Hotel (which is so much more swinging than the earlier Claude Thornhill version). And as you probably guessed, I really dig the pieces with Chet especially Half-Breed Apache. (I listen to it and those palm trees in your photographs are waving in a gentle LA breeze.)

    At the top of the set for me is Tis Autumn.

    Getz was awesome.

    Thanks man.

    • Thanks, John. It was fun playing DJ. I have so much of my vinyl still in a box from a move, but it’s been quite heartening to find things that I thought would be impossible to relocate now online. I had forgotten how much I liked “Half Breed Apache” (!) so it was great to have an excuse to unearth it and now it’s in rotation. Thank you again for creating the opportunity to share — and move back into those environments. When you have a moment, any favorites you’d like to share too. I’d love to know.

      • Getz with Astrud: I realize those are the most accessible and well-known of his recordings, but it was chemistry that worked, and so I have no apologies for digging all that Bosa- His few short bars on Corcovado led to what would be the definitive cover of a tune that’s been covered by so many.

        It’s no wonder that Leser Young (who famously comped for Billie) listed Stan Getz along with Ben Webster and Coleman Hawkins when asked who his favorite saxophonists were.

        There has never been a higher tribute paid to Getz since.

      • Except, possibly John Coltrane’s. He is supposed to have said when some fans were praising his sound and complaining about Getz’s “white bread” sound, “We’d all sound like Stan if we could.”

      • No, I agree with you: those records threw open a door and they are important. Even *he* knew that. One LP, I have that I don’t listen to as much as I did, but I think is just fun:”Getz Au Go Go” — it’s just smooth and it swings: Eu E Voce” — just under three minutes — worth it for the beautiful light-as-air solo at the end — which I just always put on repeat; and oh, yes and their version of “It Might As Well Be Spring.” Which just doesn’t fade. Ever.

      • I have to take another look at my LP’s –there’s some stuff I used to play twenty years ago that I haven’t put on in some time—the Canadian concert…the album from the 70’s with Albert Dailey.

  2. Man, what ears you have! These are some of my favorite Getz tracks. If Stan had left nothing but these few recordings, his name would live a long, long time. As it is, his name will live for as long as people listen to jazz (which, given global warming and growing political frictions and instabilities, may not be all that long). Another thing that sets Stan apart from so many others was his uncanny ability to select sidemen (and-women) who so perfectly complemented how Stan was playing at the time.

    • So glad you enjoyed and that we’re in sync here. If there are any you want to share/heads up us on — please let me know — these pieces have played such a significant part of the “backspace” over the years. He was singular. And I really think you made an important point about who he chose to play with. It think about so many of the different situations — bossa nova, strings, those later recordings with Victor Lewis on drums and Kenny Barron on piano — how different the set-up, the music that came out of them, but how in sync and from-the-soul the playing was — always.

      • Indeed. And don’t forget the “Dynasty” stuff with Eddy Louiss and Rener Thomas and “Focus” with Eddie Sauter. Both different facets of Stan’s conception, and both copacetic settings. I also very much enjoyed the “Hamp and Getz” sessions as well as “Diz and Getz,” although I realize Stan didn’t have the whole say (if, indeed, any) on personnel. The guy was simply amazing.

      • Focus is simply a masterpiece, you’re right. All textures, shapes and color. I totally agree. And Hamp and Getz is really great. And thanks for reminding me, I need to pull that out. Which reminds me: I should also pull out Getz and Oscar Peterson Trio sessions…

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