Stan Getz

Stan Getz [2-fer]

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Originally issued as two-fer on LP, this now single CD leaps a gap between recordings Stan Getz did in 1949-1950 and 1958, at a time when Getz embraced bop wholeheartedly, emerging with a personal voice away from his Lester Young influence, and then teamed with Latin jazz vibraphonist Cal Tjader. Always a curious if not incongruous collection culled from four different Prestige label recordings, the groupings feature two cuts with the Five Brothers five tenor sax-fronted band of which Getz was one-fifth, three different quartets, and the Getz-Tjader sextet featuring pianist Vince Guaraldi. The two 1949 Five Brothers tracks, all of them trading 16-bar solos, are classic bop wonders which should prompt listeners to seek their complete recordings. Staying within bop, the quartet dates from 1950 range from original hard bop and standards with mainly the wonderful Al Haig on piano. When a subdued and undermixed pianist, Tony Aless, took over for Haig, the band lost rhythmic momentum. There is a duet between Getz and an unidentified guitarist (Jimmy Raney?) on "Indian Summer" that has always been a mystery, as well as chopped-off, sudden endings. The Latin tinged "Lady in Red" with the Aless quartet precludes, by the eight-year gap, the seven spicy Tjader sides. Getz takes a back seat on several of these selections, especially the ballads "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face," "For All We Know," and the bluesy swinger "My Buddy." Only during the eight-plus-minute post-bop jam "Crow's Nest" and unison line shared "Ginza Samba" is there true democracy and a co-led partnership extant. As these recordings precede the smooth sound Getz would be most recognized for in the bossa nova movement of the '60s, it's an interesting collection, far from his best, and skims the surface of the more prime Getz material available elsewhere.

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