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Classic of the Week

Stan Getz "The Getz Quartets" (1949-1950) Prestige

August 19, 1993|BUDDY SEIGAL

These are the sessions that established tenor man Getz, fresh out of Woody Herman's "Four Brothers" sax section, as a bandleader in his own right and as a pilot in the then-new, "Cool School" of jazz.

Getz's dreamy, cloud-like tone paired with intelligent, deceptively clever improvisations and an ethereal atmosphere--particularly on ballads such as "My Old Flame" and the original composition "Mar-Cia"--hallmarked his early output.

Some critics of the day derided Getz's relative lack of energy and less-than-showy technique in the face of the omnipresent bop movement of the period, but his quietly dignified vision went on to become a prime influence on jazz great John Coltrane, among others. And, as Getz demonstrated on "Crazy Chords," he could trade flashy chops with the best of them when of a mind to do so.

Best remembered among mainstream audiences for his later excursions into more commercial, bossa nova music (such as "The Girl From Ipanema"), Getz's real legacy lies in the laid-back but heady sides he laid down in the early '50s.

It should be noted, however, that the recording quality of these early gems does leave much to be desired.

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