Stan Getz

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Reflections Review

by Pemberton Roach

Though in 1963 some purists considered Reflections to be certain evidence that Stan Getz had sold out and abandoned "real jazz" completely, the album is actually, while perhaps not a masterpiece, an artful and intriguing sidebar to the tenor saxophonist's now celebrated bossa nova period. Getz was always a sublimely smooth and lyrical player who had already recorded in an orchestral setting on the groundbreaking Focus, and had a number one pop hit with Jazz Samba. It was only natural, then, that he would want to combine the two concepts. Although Reflections does at times bear the slight stench of easy listening (sweeping strings, a Lawrence Welk-like vocal chorus), it's definitely not elevator music. Getz is in as fine form as ever, and the restrictive pop-based song structures challenge him to use his creative faculties in interesting ways. It's a true master musician who can make Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind" swing without descending into schmaltzy Trini Lopez territory or losing any of the tune's original melancholic urgency. There are a few tracks, of course, where Getz jumps back into a more straight-ahead and cool jazz bag. The Lalo Schifrin tune "Nitetime Street" features an appropriately bluesy and brooding guitar solo from Kenny Burrell, and Getz's take on "Love" is a wild Latin romp that matches the vitality of anything on his Gilberto/Jobim collaborations. A highly underrated and oft-ignored album, Reflections should be re-evaluated and viewed not as an acceptance of crass commercialism, but as a daring and brilliant artist's attempt to find pure music by blurring the boundaries between jazz and pop.

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