Good God, what a quartet!: sax legend Stan Getz backed by up and coming giants Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, and Tony Williams.with Getz in fusion mode! This modern practice of going back and rescuing treasures thought long lost is surely proving to be one of the great latterday wrinkles in the music business. Getz gained his fame for warm, mellow, lyrical flights of what came to be known as 'cool jazz' or 'West Coast cool'. He was a prime exponent, and, though he loved the sub-genre and was key in introducing samba, bossa nova, and Braziliana to Los Norte Americanos and Europeans, he nonetheless came to chafe under the restrictions of being regarded as a one-trick pony. Wanting to open up a bit, he joined in with vibraphonist Gary Burton and indulged some far more straight ahead blowing. Verve Records, eager to keep cashing in on Stan's highly successful satiny style, refused to release the gig, firmly sat on it, and the album didn't emerge until 30 years later…after Getz's death.
Burton was then in a long killer period perhaps most Olympianly illustrated in Lofty Fake Anagram ('67), then turned to more chambery sensibilities as, in the year this Montreux date appeared, he began being published by the prestigious ECM. The brain drools to imagine what might have happened had Getz been allowed to remain in that niche without label interferences, but this belated Montreux release gives damn good testimony to the possibilities. Everyone plays their brains out, solo after solo after solo, and the energy is highly infectious, the crowd deeply into the display. At this nexus in time, Corea was about to dig in with Miles and then form the Circle group (from which, dammit!, so few LPs would issue… the central take on ECM, of course), Williams was set to become one of the best drummers jazz has ever seen, and Clarke…well, what can be said? His name is synonymous with excellence on the bass.
Then there's Chick, who has gone brilliantly through more twists and turns in his career than any of the cats he's playing with here. He and confreres were in on the ground floor of the creation of fusion, and you can't talk about jazz keyboards without him entering the conversation. It just can't be done. Here, you get to watch an hour-long gem of what that niche was and still is all about: chops, imagination, unorthodoxy, and personality. The Montreux people continue to surprise one and all (and I can't tell you how jazzed I got when they issued the Mahavishnu Orchestra sessions, not to mention the unbelievable Rory Gallagher concerts, wherein the late blueser outdid his already stellar zenith) with a line of some of the best jazz ever released. You can't enter the fest line-up unless you're already an imposing presence, and being there prompts all and sundry to prodigious expositions. If you don't believe me, you may well be a newbie, and I invite you to partake of this consecrated offering as a great way to get hip quick.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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