As Good as it Getz

Stan Getz, as much as anyone, was responsible for mediating Brazilian jazz to the American public. For one thing, his career went all the way back to the big band era (he played with Woody Herman), and it spanned the whole ‘cool’ period, hard bop period, classic jazz period, and beyond. And he was a saxaphone player with a smooth tone and style, who would be an enormous influence on folks like David Sanborn. Like so many musicians of his era, he was also plagued with drug problems which hampered and indeed surely shortened his career. Nevertheless, his music stands even today as some of the most influential of all the ballad driven Brazilian style playing. You need to understand that Getz was a terrific and soulful player, but he knew his limitations. He did not have the facility, speed, or creativity of a Coltrane. So he stuck to what he did especially well, for the most part. He was a pioneer in the sense that he introduced many Americans to bossa nova, and the music of other forms of Brazilian dance. And he played with most of the major names of his era. Here are five CDs which will introduce you to his music:

1) Getz/Gilberto (featuring Jobim)

2) Getz plays Jobim

3) Stan Getz– Ballads and Bossa Nova

4) Captain Marvel

and if you want a collection of some of his smoothest ballads

5) Stan Getz– Getz for Lovers.

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  • mike h

    Agreed! Getz’s style is immediately recognizable. I fell in love with his music when I was playing in a dance band all too many years ago. Thanx!

  • Mary Liz

    Love it that you are into jazz…I am really into the Sax Jazz. The entire time I majored in Public School Music, I wanted to play jazz……

  • Mark

    About thirty years ago I saw Stan Getz at wonderful little jazz club in Ft. Lauderdale named “Bubba’s”. For $4.00 you could sit and watch the finest mainstream players of the twentieth century; Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Stitt, Red Rodney, Dexter Gordon, McCoy Tyner, Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers, featuring a very young Wynton and Branford Marsalis were just a few of the performers I saw perform there on a weekly basis. The Great multi-instrumentalist Ira Sullivan led the house band. That night Stan played his usual fine set, and then in the middle of his second stopped the band to lecture a table of loud people sitting next to the stage. Stan didn’t suffer fools lightly, especially when it came to the music. A few weeks later Sonny Stitt was playing the club and played what was probably the finest jazz I’ve ever heard, before or since. When my companion and I were leaving, after the last set I turned and said “Man, Sonny blew Stan away” no offense was intended, I was just stating what every jazz musician who ever took to the stage with Sonny new. When I turned around to get my car keys from the attendant, there was Stan Getz and his wife, standing directly behind me. Suffice to say it was an awkward moment, but, it was clear that Stan was a fan, as well as a contemporary, digging the work of a master, just like us.

  • Drane

    My dear deceased uncle introduced me to Getz in the early 60s. The first (vinyl) album I purchased after I built my first hi-fi system was Getz/Gilberto. Then, Desafinado with Charlie Byrd. I still love listening to these, nearly 50 years later.