An insane collection of music – five albums that perfectly showcase the bossa nova genius of Stan Getz! First up is Jazz Samba – one of those records that no home should be without – not only a pivotal album in the growth of bossa nova in the 60s – but a set that also really helped set the career of tenorist Stan Getz on fire! The real credit here might almost go to guitarist Charlie Byrd – as Byrd was a big early proponent of bossa nova rhythms, and had already been experimenting with them on his records of the time – yet also gets a key extra "umph" here in the presence of Stan's tenor – a bold, rich, soulful sound that really helps give the music a lot of direction – in ways that still resonate strongly all these many years later! Getz is completely sublime – a master of tone and timing throughout – and perfectly fit to these tunes. Rhythms are mostly from Byrd's trio, augmented with some extra percussion – and titles include the classic "Desafinado", plus "E Luxo So", "Samba Dees Days", "Samba Triste", "O Pato", "Samba De Uma Nota So", and "Baia". Jazz Samba Encore is hardly an "encore" of the first Stan Getz Jazz Samba album – as this set's got a slightly different feel, and lots of great elements that make it really unique! This time around, Brazilian musician Luiz Bonfa
is on guitar – already a skilled proponent of the bossa by the time of the record, and arguably one of the few who really got it going back home in Rio. Stan's tenor sounds wonderful – as carefully and soufully blown as on the first set, but also with some new colors and tones too. Bonfa
's wife Maria Toledo sings a bit on the record – hinting at Stan's work to come with Astrud Gilberto (this album was cut right before the Getz/
Gilberto collaboration) – and the record also features added work on piano and guitar from the great Antonio Carlos Jobim – more than enough proof that the album's got a pure bossa pedigree! Titles include "Menina Flor", "Ebony Samba", "Saudade Vem Correndo", "Sambalero", "Samba De Duas Notas", and "Mania De Maria". With Laurindo Almeida is one of the best of the Stan Getz bossa nova sessions – and a record that features the great Laurindo Almeida on guitar – playing with more virtuosity than either Charlie Byrd or Joao Gilberto did on their collaborations with Getz! The record's got a driving rhythm section, with lots of long tracks, and nice laid-back solos by both Getz and Almeida – who's getting in some of his few jazz licks of the 60s here, working in a groove similar to that of his earlier sides with Bud Shank, but which sounds almost even better in the languid company of Getz. Cuts include "Outra Vez", "Winter Moon", "Maracatu-Too", and "Samba Da Sahra". Getz Gilberto is a landmark record – both in 60s jazz and bossa nova – and a set that not only bridged worlds of music, but set the tone for so many other albums to come! By the time of this 1964 set, Stan Getz had already issued a few bossa nova experiments on Verve – but this pairing with guitarist Joao Gilberto really pushed the format over the top – thanks in part to the vocals of Gilberto's lovely wife Astrud, who'd never sung in the studio before this famous recording! The record created a sound that was copied endlessly, and which catapulted Astrud to unbelievable fame worldwide – even though she was only included in the session at the last minute, because Joao couldn't sing in English – and the mix of Stan's tenor and Joao's guitar is wonderful – and backed throughout by this light, lilting bossa nova rhythms. Titles include the classic recording of "Girl From Ipanema", plus loads of other bossa classics like "Desafinado", "Cocovado", "O Grande Amor", and "Vivo Sonhando". Getz Gilberto 2 is a very different record than the first collaboration between Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto – but that's also one of the things that makes it great! The album's more of a split LP than a shared one – as side one features a live performance from the great mid 60s Stan Getz quartet that featured Gary Burton on vibes – a wonderfully cool combo that was very under-documented on record, and which makes a key appearance here. The combination of Burton's vibes and Stan's tenor is pure genius – a sound that's got all the subtle hues and cool colors of the Getz bossa recordings, but which is quite different overall. Stan's tone is amazing on these tunes – and titles include "Here's That Rainy Day", "Tonight I Shall Sleep With A Smile On My Face", "Grandfather's Waltz", and "Stan's Blues". Side two features Joao Gilberto without Stan – playing in a very groovy trio that's more straight bossa than most of his other US recordings – cool small combo grooving that's totally great! The lineup features Gilberto on guitar and vocals, Keeter Betts on bass, and Helcio Milito on drums – all working in a sweetly grooving mode on titles that include "Samba De Minha Terra", "Meditation", "Bim Bom", "Rosa Moreno", and "O Pato".