Friday, April 3, 2015

Stan Getz

I have no pretensions to being a music critic, since I lack the technical vocabulary for it - although I do think that for a non-musician, I have a decent ear. From time to time here, I will write about the music I'm enjoying in an appreciative spirit.

There is no doubt that some musical figures have a particular hold on my imagination, and Stan Getz is one of those. Although one wouldn't want all the baggage that goes with being a troubled jazz star, parts of the lifestyle can seem appealing, and just as one (well, me) can daydream oneself as a great baseball pitcher or golfer, one can imagine what it would be like to be a bandleader (Charlie Barnet!) or saxophonist.

There is the look to consider, too. I will never pretend that my reaction to certain musicians or actors doesn't have quite a bit to do with their handsomeness, their bodies, their dress. It would be ridiculous to pretend that. One of the attractions of writing a blog post about Stan Getz is accompanying it with some great pictures of the guy.

The particular album that I have been enjoying today is Stan Getz and the Oscar Peterson Trio from 1957.

I went looking on YouTube for video footage of Getz that predates his Sixties involvement with bossa nova (a subject for another post). There is not much, BUT I found a sublime clip from 1960 featuring Getz with the Peterson Trio again, and partnered by John fucking Coltrane. The contrast in the tones of Getz and Coltrane on their saxophones is a study!

I also found a terrific interview with Getz from the Winter 1986 issue of The Saxophone Journal in which he discusses his listening habits:

What classical music do you listen to?

I find something good in just about all classical music. I just heard Bernstein do Mahler's Ninth Symphony at Davies Hall. It's so great. I just like all the classical composers. I don't listen to much jazz, mostly classical music. There's only a few so-called classics in jazz that I want to go back and listen to.

What would those be?

Miles. Those classic Miles dates like Kind of Blue, and Round Midnight with Philly Joe Jones. They're just tremendous jazz classics! And of course, I've listened to Duke Ellington a lot. But there is something refreshing about so-called "classical music." You can play a classical record in the morning and it purifies your soul (laughs). It's almost religious.

Knowing Getz would have been difficult - there were the drugs, of course, which appear to have triggered mood swings, and for all his looking like a cool cat (and making his instrument sound in kind), Getz was an intense and fractured personality to begin with. (Zoot Sims once said that Getz was "a nice bunch of guys.") As with many artists, those of us who will only ever get to approach them through their art get the best of the deal.

Stan Getz & The Oscar Peterson Trio: The Silver Collection

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