Tenor saxophone legend Stan Getz’s career spanned six decades in which he played with everyone from Antonio Carlos Jobim and Dizzy Gillespie to Barry Manilow and Huey Lewis. On June 14, Verve Records and UMe will take fans back to the evening of November 26, 1961, when Getz and his quartet comprising pianist Steve Kuhn, bassist John Neves, and drummer Roy Haynes took the stage at New York’s Village Gate. The show was professionally recorded, possibly for release, but for one reason or another, was never issued. Every note of that performance will be heard on the labels’ 2-CD or 3-LP release of Getz at the Gate: The Stan Getz Quartet Live at The Village Gate, November 26, 1961.
By late 1961, Getz was already a veteran in the business, having led his first sessions in 1947 and having played professionally even earlier than that. He had just returned from Europe and assembled a new quartet. The group pursued what Verve describes as “a slightly more modern and aggressive sound.” Steve Kuhn had recently played with the quartet of John Coltrane, and the younger sax man’s cutting-edge style was on the rise.
This recording and this quartet both serve as a sort of “road not taken” for Stan Getz. Having just returned from living in Europe, Getz assembled a new quartet and was exploring a slightly more modern and aggressive sound with this group. Steve Kuhn had only recently finished playing with John Coltrane’s quartet and a more modern music and sound – personified by Coltrane – was gaining popularity. At the Village Gate, Getz and his new group tipped their hat to Coltrane with “Impressions,” and revisited several songs Getz had recorded in the 1950s (including the standards “Like Someone in Love” and “When the Sun Comes Out,” and the 1955 future standard and cabaret staple “Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most”). They improvised on melodies by Jule Styne (“It’s You Or No One”), Thelonious Monk (“52nd Street Theme”), Alec Wilder (“Where Do You Go”), and Sonny Rollins (“Airegin”). The concert also features his only known recordings of Cole Porter’s “It’s All Right with Me” and Dick Robertson, Nelson Cogane, and Sammy Mysel’s “Yesterday’s Gardenias,” a Glenn Miller favorite.
Getz continued exploring in 1962 with Focus, an acclaimed collaboration with bandleader and orchestrator Eddie Sauter that melded jazz with a widescreen orchestra. Of course, everything changed for the artist later that year when he helped usher in the bossa nova boom in America – first with his album Jazz Samba with Charlie Byrd, and then with Jazz Samba Encore! (1963) featuring Luiz Bonfá. 1964 brought Getz/Gilberto (1964) by Getz and Brazilian guitarist João Gilberto, immortalizing “The Girl from Ipanema” with vocals by Astrud Gilberto. Its phenomenal crossover success naturally altered the direction of Getz’s career.
Getz at the Gate, due on June 14 in 2CD, 3LP, and digital iterations, joins those aforementioned titles as part of the late saxophonist’s landmark Verve Records discography. You can peruse the track listing and pre-order links below!
- Introduction by Chip Monck
- It’s All Right with Me
- When the Sun Comes Out
- Like Someone in Love
- Woody ‘n You
- Where Do You Go
- Yesterday’s Gardenias
- Stella by Starlight
- It’s You or No One
- Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most
- 52nd Street Theme
- Jumpin’ with Symphony Sid