The Stan Getz Quartet
Stan Getz's first recording for Concord finds him returning to the strictly acoustic straightahead format, performing six standards with a quartet comprised of pianist Lou Levy, bassist Monty Budwig and drummer Victor Lewis. Getz is in particularly fine form on the title cut, "Joy Spring" and "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes."
- Scott Yanow (All Music Guide)
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This album is one element in what might reasonably be called a turning point in the life and times of Stan Getz. Not long before this album was taped, he had made a change in his residence, settling in San Francisco after a virtual lifetime in New York (interrupted by a few years in Denmark and Spain). He had altered the make-up of his accompanying trio. Perhaps most important of all, he had abandoned the dubious ministrations of a "major" record company and turned his allegiance to Concord Jazz, where a love of music overrides all other considerations.
"My philosophy," Stan told me shortly after this album was prepared for release, "is very simple. There are four qualities essential to a great jazzman. They are taste, courage, individuality, and irreverence. Those are the qualities I want to retain in my music. "You can try out something else just to get the feel of what's going on- 1 did that, but it didn't sit true with me. It wasn't the essence of the jazz art form. 1 don't want ever again to be subjected to pressures from record companies." The new Getz group is characterized by him as "a compact, classical-jazz quartet, one that is right for me, not one that's designed to reach a wider audience or compete with the rock people.
" Lou Levy has been my choice as a pianist ever since 1948, when we worked together in Woody Herman's band. He went on to great successes backing Ella, Peggy, all the top jazz singers; but now he's back where he should have been all along.
"Monty Budwig and I also worked together about 25 years ago, but he got caught up in studio work. It seems as though when musicians grow older, they realize that jazz is essential to them. We're using Monty for the West Coast jobs and Marc Johnson when we're back East"
Victor Lewis, the youngest member of the combo, is the only hold over from the 1980 quartet; he joined Stan early last year.
"l had the engineer, Phil Edwards, raise the volume of the brushes on the ballads," Stan says, "so we'd capture the delicacy of Victor's playing, and achieve a full quartet sound, even though it's so soft."
The' Keystone Corner" he adds, "is a club I really love-during a performance, the people react as though they're in church; afterward, you never heard such a small crowd express its admiration so voraciously."
The title track is a Brazilian work, by Luis Eva, one that recalls Stan's seminal successes with the boss novas of the early 1960s. "A Time for Love" and "Close Enough For Love" are both Johnny Mandel compositions. Stan recalls: "I was one of the first people ever to record a Johnny Mandel tune, on a 1950 session. Johnny called it "Or Music To That Effect," but the record company changed it to "Hershey Bar." Completing the set are Clifford Brown's luminous "Joy Spring," introduced in 1954 by the Brown/Roach Quintet; "My Old Flame," for which Duke Ellington's orchestra backed Mac West's vocal in the 1934 movie "Belle of the Nineties"; and that most lyrical of songs, "The Night Has A Thousand Eyes," the title tune of a 1948 film.
There is no virtuosity or volume for its own sake, no self-indulgence; just a superlative artist who still believes in the power of beauty instead of finding beauty in power. The three other men do not "accompany" him; they work as part of an integral unit, all sympathetic to his needs, each a master of his craft. This is the kind of music we learned to expect from Stan Getz long before rock 'n' roll and electronic music were ever heard of. It is the music he will continue to bring us from now on.
- Leonard Feather