Stan Getz – a testimony to genius

The Stan Getz ‘People Time’ box set has just won the ‘Down Beat’ award for ‘best box set of the year’ and deservedly so. It is wonderfully recorded and deeply moving, as Stan plays with a subtle intensity that can catch you quite off guard. Stan Getz was a very sick man at this point in his life and according to his bandmates in considerable pain. This concert was the penultimate performance of his life and it draws a line under what was by Jazz standards a very successful career. Stan’s legacy is considerable and you only need to look at his discography to see the importance of what he left behind. It is well known that he was not an easy man to get along with and he appears to have burned off a number of friends along the way. Zoot Sims referred to him as ‘an interesting bunch of guys’. Genius often has its deficits and that is especially so with Jazz. The imperative is to touch the sun each time you play and Stan sometimes achieved that. Like Daedalus however he came crashing to earth afterwards. His demons were the usual suspects plus a few extra thrown in for good measure. Life on the road can be gruelling and lonely but for Stan performance was everything. One of his most successful collaborations was with Kenny Barron (piano) and this duo performance needs no commentary as it speaks for itself. Kenny Barron had performed with Stan frequently over the years and happily he is still very much with us. I almost hesitated to show this clip as Stan looks so ill, but the music paints the truer picture.

3 thoughts on “Stan Getz – a testimony to genius

  1. Well said John – great clip of Stan and Kenny too – lifted my Sunday morning out of gloomy stories of tsunamis and out-of-control nuclear plants

    • Stan’s legacy will be with us for very long time but as with Miles, people will try hard not to copy him for fear of comparison. Except in Europe perhaps, where that ringing melodic tone can still be heard.

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