In response to shortsighted comments implying that Stan Getz and Zoot Sims sounded too much like each other and too similar to Lester Young, Ira Gitler liked to use the analogy of "...a friend calling you on the telephone. You know who it is immediately. It's the same thing when you hear a musician play." The secret, of course, is to listen so carefully and consistently that you feel as though you have become a friend of the artist. This sort of empathy is a vital ingredient in jazz -- the empathy between composers, players, and listeners. Hearing Stan Getz recorded live in performance at Boston's Storyville club on October 28, 1951, spells it out marvelously. Backed by pianist Al Haig, guitarist Jimmy Raney, bassist Teddy Kotick, and drummer Tiny Kahn, Getz sounds as though he has arrived at a hard-won maturity. One great aspect of this music lies within the comparative nature of every sound. In Getz listeners can hear Jimmy Giuffre, Lee Konitz, even Charles Lloyd -- but best of all, Getz himself. By this time his artistry had evolved well beyond where he had been only a couple of years earlier. In some of these bands there's something of the marvelous complexity of Lennie Tristano's fascinating ensembles. Eight 1952 recordings originally released on 78-rpm singles bearing the baby-blue Roost label appeared under the heading of the Johnny Smith Quintet. Smith's quicksilver guitar, heard most dynamically on the rapid Tristano-like "Jaguar" and a fantastic cruising theme called "Tabu," acts as a stunning foil for the tenor. The slower numbers are positively intoxicating. Even with the guitar predominating, "Moonlight in Vermont" stands among the loveliest ballad recordings this saxophonist ever participated in. The band's next session took place in November of 1952, and resulted in music of comparable excellence. On December 12, Getz collaborated for the very first time with producer Norman Granz. Backed by a rhythm section including pianist Duke Jordan, the saxophonist had clearly found his own voice. "The Way You Look Tonight" is a powerful closer for this outstanding album of vintage early modern jazz.
AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf