Recorded live at Cafe' Montmartre, Copenhagen on July 6th 1987, and between March 3rd and 6th 1991.
Before his death after a several year battle with cancer, Stan Getz continued to release a flurry of outstanding recordings. Cafe Montmartre is a compilation of several live performances at the famous Copenhagen club with pianist Kenny Barron, selected from three earlier CDs, the 1987 quartet dates Anniversary! and Serenity, plus the two-disc set People Time from 1991. Getz was a masterful ballad interpreter and delivers with the mournful tribute "I Remember Clifford" and an absolutely haunting, emotionally charged take of Billy Strayhorn's "Blood Count" (written as its composer lay dying of cancer). Barron makes a strong case as one of Getz's very best accompanists, while bassist Rufus Reid and drummer Ben Riley (present only on the 1987 material), are also superb. With the tenor saxophonist and his musicians delivering one outstanding take after another on the original releases, it must have been very difficult to choose only nine of the 26; those on a budget will want this anthology, but Getz fans owe it to themselves to seek out the complete original discs instead.
All Music Guide
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"I believe you should try to make music as beautiful as you can. It should not be done with ugliness. There's so much hate In the world; you have to counteract It with loveliness" A profession of faith; throughout his entire career, Stan Getz worked on the demonstration of it, and never, perhaps, was he as convincing as when he appeared at the Cafe Montmartre, his time for serenity having finally come. For his state of mind, the place held great importance: Stan knew he was surrounded by old friends whose loyalty in periods of torment had never been faulted. Besides, wasn't he already a kind of "godfather" to the Cafe Montmartre? It had opened in Copenhagen at the end of the Fifties, when Stan had chosen Denmark as his country of adoption. He'd played in the club at the heart of the old city on countless occasions; the address had changed in 1976, but the Danish public continued to show the same support, and the same affection. Stan Getz was perfectly conscious of this, and when the time came for him to celebrate his sixtieth birthday, what venue could have been more appropriate than the Cafe Montmartre? Unless you were choosy about the date, that is... Danish television and radio came, and the latter recorded the concert. For Stan it was something quite different from a simple family reunion: "I thought that those concerts could be my last ones, and that save me the feeling of 'Now I really have to try my best'. In my fantasy, I was singing my musical swan song."
Masterpieces followed improvisations that were unbelievable. Never before had Getz composed such a moving version of I Can't Get Started, nor had he ever served such a masterfully concise Blood Count. And as for the Johnny Mercer/Jimmy Van Heusen standard I Thought About You, it was so far from showing its respectable age -almost a half-century - that it seemed to have been written the day before. And written just for Stan, like Falling In Love, by pianist Vic Feldman, a former partner. On that night it was the impeccable Kenny Barron who sat down at the piano, accompanied by the fearless, blameless Rufus Reid and Victor Lewis on bass and drums. When Stan Getz returned to the Cafe Montmartre in 1991 to bid farewell, only Kenny Barron would accompany him. The time for facile whims and self-satisfaction had long gone; the outcome of his long combat with illness had become inescapable. Never yet, in his improvisations, had Stan shown such impressive height of vision; never, ever, did he show the slightest inclination to surrender. His duets with Kenny Barron were transformed into a suite of critical tests. Nobody will dare to perform People Time, Soul Eyes or First Song again. The versions played at the Cafe Montmartre during that month of March were not to be contested. Stan had come home, and for the last time, in front of a familiar audience, he would tell some of those marvellous stories whose secret was his alone; stories filled with emotion and dignity, stories that were unimaginable, but true: '7 never played a note I didn't teel intimately, and I'd like that to be my epitaph."