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Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history. It was when Getz dropped by a rehearsal of the Jack Teagarden band. Teagarden was the premier trombonist in jazz and a disarming vocalist as well. At the rehearsal, year-old Stanley was discovered the old-fashioned way: the regular tenor player failed to show up. Get a tuxedo and a toothbrush and a spare shirt,' and I got on that train.
It was all older guys, all rejects from the Army. The reason I got the job after playing horn for two years was because it was wartime and all the good musicians were drafted. Stan Getz left home a poor Jewish kid from the Bronx. Today, after all the records and accolades and triumphant concerts at Carnegie Hall, it's extraordinary just how well preserved that touchy, insecure kid is. Any number of self-assured artists and intellectuals have grown up in the Bronx, but by and large they climbed the establishment's educational ladder; they acquired a sense of entitlement by degrees.
At 15, Getz surrendered himself to the company of tough or eccentric men who lived out of suitcases, this in an era when jazz had something of the old whorehouse raffishness about it and was considered no art. With regard to jazz, Getz seems to have acquired the prejudices of the highly cultivated gentleman that, thankfully, he never quite managed to become. He's probably right, at least about his kind of jazz. At his best, Getz can convey a feeling of bruised delicacy that is both too much and too little for a great concert hall.
Whether you call it art music or night music depends more on the socioeconomics of who is doing the playing and the listening. Things can get confusing when a vernacular turns profound. At a recording session with Herman, the year-old Getz took a solo on Ralph Burns's "Summer Sequence Part IV" that one jazz scholar has called "the most beautiful seven-bar solo anyone ever played. It was no accident that Getz rose to stardom in the 50's, the decade of Dean and Brando, of cool surfaces and passionate, roiled interiors.
Dexter Morrill, a Colgate University music professor and onetime Getz colaborator, calls Getz "a defining spirit of the decade, which was preoccupied with surface and design, infatuated with the newness and sleekness that you see in color photographs and plastics. Throughout the 50's, Getz was a headliner on Norman Granz's hugely T & S - Stan Getz & Friends - Early Getz (Vinyl Jazz at the Philharmonic tours.
The early 60's brought the bossa nova hits and with them, crossover fame. In the late 60's and 70's, he added electric instrumentation and continued to sell records for Columbia when many of his contemporaries had withered on the racks or fled to Europe. The 80's became Getz's period of classical revival: he recorded a series of acoustic quartet albums "The Dolphin," "Pure Getz," "Voyage" and "Anniversary" that invite comparison with his most fluent work of the late 50's.
Whatever the musical setting, Getz refined the materials at hand with an instinct for classical order, an unshakable technical facility, and a tone -- sometimes fat, sometimes feathery -- that could break hearts as reliably as any pop crooner. For all that, it wasn't until the last decade that Getz won over the sophisticated jazz critics.
He was always the poor little rich boy who dominated all the white jazz magazine polls. His only sin was playing beautifully in a style that happened to be accessible to a large audience.
He will be remembered by most people as the guy who played the bedroom-silky sax line behind Astrud Gilberto's little-girl vocal LP) the bossa nova hit "The Girl From Ipanema.
As Getz says, for years critics persisted in seeing him as "just a pale shade of Lester Young. Lester Young was Stan Getz's great stylistic mentor, a black man from Kansas City, who was in turn influenced by white sax technicians like Jimmy Dorsey and Frankie Trumbauer. Young didn't concern himself overly with a song's harmonic structure. Instead, he would play line after line of laconic, sometimes melancholic melodic improvisation.
Young was a strange man with a taste for elegant suits and porkpie hats. He spoke little, and what he did say was likely to be couched in his own private language. Very few people know what Lester Young thought about anything, but for Getz it is important to believe that his idol didn't resent him.
In the mid's, Getz and Young traded solos on the Jazz at the Philharmonic bandstand, but by then Young was nearing his lonely, alcoholic end. I saw him walk past me to go to the back room, so I went back there and met him and said: 'Hey, it's a pleasure. I love you. In the early 40's, 52d Street was the world's first showcase for be-bop.
If any music can be said to be invented, be-bop was invented by Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk in the laboratory of a Harlem jazz club and brought to midtown for public inspection. Many of the established swing musicians, black and white, were frightened off by the music's super-fast tempos and jagged rhythms -- "Chinese music," Louis Armstrong called it -- but Getz, then a featured soloist with the Benny Goodman band, was hungry to play it.
None of them would let me sit in. The only two who would were Ben Webster and Erroll Garner, and then it was lovely. Getz doesn't blame race for the cold shoulder. He says he didn't feel reverse discrimination until the 60's, the LP) of "free jazz" that was associated with the black liberation movement. His cool reception in the 40's, he believes, simply reflected his lack of musical status with the pioneers of be-bop, a style that with a few modifications remains the prevailing way to play modern jazz.
And what if a Parker or a Gillespie had summoned the year-old Getz to the stand? Eight years later, the producer Norman Granz paired Getz and Gillespie in the studio. But one listens in vain for a hint of the chaos surrounding him. Getz jumps into the tune in unison with Gillespie, unfazed at the tempo, even playfully mimicking Diz's perfervid trumpet.
Albums like "Diz and Getz" or the pairing with the bop trombonist J, LP). Johnson, "At the Opera House," showcase the remarkable ability of Getz, once considered a saxophonist of the "cool school," to turn up the temperature.
He assimilates bop without losing his own relaxed swing feel, staying cool while playing hot. The music takes on the quality of a highly charged conversation between two people speaking slightly different dialects. This assimilation of different voices is, as much as anything, what jazz is about. Unfortunately, when the music stops, the different cultural forces have a way of separating out. As jazz left the mass popularity of the swing era, the serious white jazz musician found himself in an anomalous position -- an insider that is to say, not black practicing an outsider's art, an art regarded by mainstream America as LP) abstract or too vulgar or both.
Musicians like Getz and the saxophonist Art Pepper occupied a no man's land, further cut off from "straight" America by certain habits endemic to the working musician. Other times, if he sniffs something he doesn't like in a line of questioning, he'll react with the old anger, or with a newer autumnal disappointment.
I had a ball. He has a point. Intoxication seemed to be bound up in the act of musical improvisation -- living in the moment. Neo Metal. Stoner Rock. Metal Fusion. Rock n Roll. Elvis Presley. The Beatles. The Rolling Stones. Pop general. Current Pop. Pop 90s. Pop 80s.
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