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August 12, 2011

Vintage Stan Getz Quartet Live

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A good friend sent me a link to a historic and incredible video featuring a live performance of the Stan Getz Quartet from 1965 or 66 featuring Gary Burton, Steve Swallow and Roy Haynes. It was shot for a BBC series titled Jazz Goes To College. What really caught my eye on this footage was that this video contained the entire concert performance of this profound group plus the overall audio and video quality is quite good.

On a historic note, this was one of Stan Getz’s greatest bands and perhaps one of his most progressive. The playing and interaction of these players is nothing short of genius. This is the kind of footage that every person who loves jazz should watch and every person looking to play jazz should study multiple times.

After I watched the concert footage, I was so excited that I emailed Gary Burton asking him first if he knew about the full performance being available online and then I asked him if he could perhaps watch the video and send us a few words about his playing captured during this performance. Here is what he had to say. - JV

The  two things I noticed immediately were how daring and adventurous my playing was, harmonically speaking, for that time period.  More than I would probably be today.  And, I got a laugh out of watching Stan and Steve Swallow smoking cigarettes on stage behind me while I played a solo piece.  Can’t imagine such a thing happening today, and yet it was normal behavior back then.  

One other thought.  Only on rare occasion does a musician end up in a group that has a strong group chemistry, where everything just clicks and becomes bigger than the sum of its part, as they say.  That group with Stan, Swallow and Roy Haynes and myself was the first for me.  The first band where the interaction was just off the charts.  After three years with Stan, it was a struggle to leave the band to start my own group.  I worried I was walking away from the opportunity of a lifetime.  But, it turned out to be the right move after all, and in time I had a few groups of my own that really connected creatively.

- Gary Burton, August 2011



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