Stan Getz VOYAGE

A long time Getz fan, this one slipped under my radar until a couple of days ago when I found a vinyl copy at a street sale. One of the greatest jazz records I have heard in quite some time, I can't recommend it highly enough. Getz is in top form, and exceptionally poetic in his playing. He proves once again that saxophone playing can be hip and contemporary, while still sounding velvety, and not as if the horn is about to split at the seams. The rhythm section is superb in every respect. Victor Lewis on drums, George Mraz on bass, are outstanding. But it is pianist Kenny Barron who steals the show on this session. Check out his incredible solo on the opening cut "Wanted to Say"; it is a model of logic and thematic development while swinging his a** off.

This 1986, Blackhawk release is sonically terrific. Producer Herb Wong was obviously inspired by the feeling of the music in the choices he made. The sound is detailed enough, but velvety with a rich bottom end, and no hint of shrillness. Not "audiophile grade" hyper-detailing here, but extremely listenable. After a recent disappointing rash of very noisy used record purchases, my copy of this pressing is very quiet, and consistent. There are three copies of this lp on ebay as I write, including one with an "Excellent" grading. Check this one out, you won't be disappointed.

From a few years earlier Getz is in the same peak form on several sessions for Concord.Two from a live date at San Francisco's Keystone Korner from '81 with Pianist Lou Levy and two from '82 "Blue skies" and "Pure Getz".These are defiantly swinging,organically lyrical and seem to define his last great stage of creativity.He had done it all and had nothing to prove,just to communicate mature and emotionally charged saxophone playing of the highest order.
Thanks Frogman,

I listened to a few moments of each cut at AMG and then clicked over to Ebay and purchased the LP.

I don't see where you mention the album title, but I figured out it's "Voyage."
I wonder if this has been reissued under any other names on CD as I don't have a turntable. I will check it out. I love the live "Anniversary" disc, and also "Lost Sessions".
Pure Getz is available on SACD

"Voyage", it is! The Audiogon gremlins strike again. Have no idea why the title did not appear next to Stan Getz. Sorry about that. Enjoy.
As great a review as the recommendation. I listened to "I wanted to tell you" on you tube and was immediately sold. Very nice find, Frogman!!
You are welcome, Albert. Roxy54, it is available on CD, a couple of copies on ebay right now.
I've had the album since it came out. It is very well recorded and the playing is excellent. It is one of my favorite Getz albums.
I personally think that Kenny Barron is one of the most underrated pianist out there.
I just picked it up on CD. Thanks for the heads up.
Tenor saxophonist Stan Getz found a perfect accompanist in pianist Kenny Barron, who would regularly play in his group for his last five years. This out-of-print Black Hawk LP finds the pair, along with bassist George Mraz and drummer Victor Lewis, performing two standards and four more recent pieces, including two ("Dreams" and "Voyage") by Barron. The music is difficult to classify (modern bop?) but relatively easy to understand; Getz never coasts.

Like this truly excellent and ridiculously difficult to find album that features Stan Getz and Kenny Barron in beautifully languid "after hours" mode. Find it if you can and then wonder why among the tens of thousands of mediocre LP's out there one of this quality remains deleted. Very highly recommended.

Track Listing:

1 I Wanted to Say
2 I Thought About You
3 Yesterdays
4 Dreams
5 Falling in Love
6 Voyage

The Quintet:

Stan Getz - Sax (Tenor)
Kenny Barron - Composer, Piano
Victor Lewis - Composer, Drums
George Mraz - Bass
Babatunde - Conga & Brushes (Dreams track 4)

Recorded March 9,1986 on the Blackhawk Label and is catalog number BKH 51101


There have been a number of Getz releases in the past few years, many of them not worth listening to, live sessions recorded without Stan's knowledge. This obscure Blackhawk release is a classic of cosmic dimensions. All Getz fans will want to get this one.

One of the best of the late Getz albums, previously available only as an import. Previously filed as a Kenny Barron album(!), features Getz and his "soul-mate" pianist who accompanied him for the last decade of his life.

Yeah, he plays two Barron songs, but Stan the Man's out front. Smooth and burnished like "Ballads and Bossas", lyrical, gentle, quiet, slightly sad, Vintage Getz. From nearly the same period as B&B, and "Anniversary", this album deserves much wider appreciation. Late Getz and mid Barron, both in prime form.

Mostly Ballads, Getz soars over the rest like a big eagle. Stan blows sculpted blue fog notes, weaves dreams. Victor Lewis on drums and Babatunde on brushes provide a steady hypnotic beat.

"I Thought about You" is ravishingly lyrical. This romantic, hot air balloon trip mood continues through "Yesterdays", "Dreams" and "Falling in Love". Ironic as it may seem, the title track may be the weakest track on the album. Getz and Barron listen carefully to each other and give one another room to stretch out.

One of my favorites, but difficult to find, buy it when you can.

Have some wine, sit back and drink it in. Well recorded session.

Stan Getz said that Kenny Barron was the other half of his jazz heart. Until now Voyage has been virtually impossible to find but it belongs to the finest albums Getz recorded. Always the lyrical player, Getz seemed to play with an even greater ease and depth later in his career. This album is beautifully recorded, features the gorgeous piano of Kenny Barron and provides an album of songs that is both sensual and painfully beautiful.

End Review:

One of the all-time great tenor saxophonists, Stan Getz was known as "The Sound" because he had one of the most beautiful tones ever heard. Getz, whose main early influence was Lester Young, grew to be a major influence himself and to his credit he never stopped evolving.

This was an ad of a copy I sold on Audiogon last year. Posted here as FYI.
Thanks to Frogman, and all other posters. I just ordered the CD from Amazon a couple of minutes ago, and I can't wait for it to come. His music has given me great pleasure for years, and I am in awe of his lyricism and his virtuosity. Truly an all time great, never to be forgotten.
I ordered it from Amazon as well and I am sure they appreciate our business!

I love Stan Getz, thanks!
Just as an added thought, I was listening to "The Lost Sessions" the other evening, and I was realizing once again the motivation that drives music lovers to become audiophiles. Stan's playing on this recording is so full of delicate nuance and dynamic shading. It is certainly not impossible to enjoy the music on a transistor radio, but so much insight into his brilliance and expression would be lost. A great recording of great music played back well is an intimate experience.
Roxy54 - Amen to your post, total agreement. I have that album as well and for those that do not have it, then it should be on your short list to acquire.
I always enjoy reading your posts, and especially your reviews of vintage equipment. Do you also own the "Anniversary" Disc? I have quite a few other Getz discs that I love, but that was my first one, and it is a great one.
Thanks for the kind words. Nope don't have that one and now it is on my list to acquire. Just going through a 4CD set that just came in Shelly Manne and his Men - Live At The Blackhawk 1959. Killer jazz in a live club setting. Use to have all of this in vinyl 5 albums, that hurricanes of a few years ago got to, along with a few others. But the CD transfer is quite good. Apologise to be a wee bit off topic to Stan Getz, but this is great jazz as well.
Indeed, one of my all time favorite from Getz. Picked up a sealed vinyl copy from a local record store. Voyage, truly appropriate the music transports you!
Great music! I like Getz, and I play Cafe Montmartre all the time.........MELLO. I do not have this one.....thanks, and I'll check it out soon.

There are so many beautiful moments on this record. One of the moments that just kills me, and which is a testament to the excellence of this rhythm section, happens in the first six measures of Barron's solo in "I Thought About You". If you are ever asked by someone: "what is jazz?", play this cut for them, and point out what happens in those first six measures. It is a perfect example of intuitive, improvisatory interplay by two great musicians. It is the essence of jazz.

On that cut, Getz solos with his usual brilliance. He is followed by Barron. Listen to how Mraz does much more than just outline the chord changes; he is having a conversation with Barron. Barron plays a motif going into the fifth measure, and Mraz answers. Then, in the sixth measure, the magic happens. The two are so keyed into each other's playing that the interplay leads to a statement in perfect unison. This is not scripted nor preplanned, it is spontaneous. Great stuff.
I am at work, and I just received my copy of Voyage from Amazon. I want to leave work so I can go home and listen to it, but I'll just have to wait until tonight...
other Stan Getz recordings (LPs) would you recommend for similar sonic quality and musicality?
I got home late last evening, and only gave a cursory listen to the Voyage disc. I am sure that I will come to like it very much, but on first casual listen, I wasn't "blown away" in the same way as I was with Anniversary or The Lost Sessions. Again, to put it in context, I only listened to it once and I was tired.
One thing that I can say with certainty is that the recording was a little disappointing. It isn't bad by any means, but the way Stan's sax was recorded was not as good as on The Lost Sessions. On The Lost sessions, you can hear his breath and the sound of the reed so clearly, and yet it is balanced with the sound of the rest of the instrument. Those sounds add so much to the expression of the playing when they are clearly reproduced, and on the Voyage disc, it didn't seem as clear. I also noticed that when he played certain loud notes, it sounded a little peaky, bordering on uncomfortable. Overall, the sound was good, but I am comparing to The Lost Sessions which is very good. I look forward to getting very familiar with this disc.
Thanks for the heads up Frogman!
I received the CD yesterday.
It's a very sentual album. Very relaxing and well recorded.
Not as close miked as some of Stans recordings, but it sounded just right to me.
Thank you Frogman for bringing this album to my attention.
It's a great addition to my collection.
Digging through my archives of vinyl found I do have a issued of this on Vinyl. Blackhawk label released 1986. No need to get the CD issue, has same tracks as the current CD issue.

Great stuff here. Also Lost Sessions is very good as well.
Roxy54, and Zmanastronomy, you are welcome. A couple of additional thoughts about this recording, and "Lost Sessions". The relative merits of each are just a matter of personal taste, and personal priorities.

"Lost Sessions" is clearly a wonderful recording of wonderful performances. One of the things that makes "Voyage" particularly good to my ears is that it sounds less like a studio recording than "Lost Sessions" does. Now, keep in mind that I don't have "Voyage" on CD, only on LP. So, as far as sonic attributes go, I am comparing an LP to a CD. Having said that, I can much more easily forget that I am listening to a quartet playing in a studio with "Voyage" than I can with "LS". On "LS" intruments are much more closely miked. The extra apparent detail detracts from the sense that the players are playing in the same space. Roxy54, the extra reed/breath sound heard on "Voyage" is, to me, an artifact. I say "extra" because there is still lots of Getz's distinctive breathiness apparent on "Voyage", but on "LS" there is a clear sense that he is playing into a microphone. The result, to my ears, is that his sound has less velvet, and a little more grunt than is natural. An interesting sidebar is the fact that while one hears more of the air coming out the bell of the horn (the result of closer micing), Stan's intake of air before he plays a phrase is much more apparent on "Voyage". Again, different micing techniques. And the differences should not be surprising given producers Alpert's, and Wong's musical backgrounds. Listen to the very end of "Feijoada" on "LS", as Stan's very last note decays, you can hear Alpert's very subtle use of reverb on the horn; arguably, a distraction.

As far as the music goes, both recordings are clearly terrific. The qualitative differences that I hear between the two are put into perspective by Ferrari's point that "Voyage" was originally Kenny Barron's session. Barron is on fire on some of those cuts, and the rhythm section as a whole feature themselves more than on "LS", where there is a subtle sense that they are deferring to the leader (Getz). Fine points to be sure, but they add up to performances that are, overall, even more exciting. Both great records of great music making.

Kencalgary, if you can find it, Verve reissued both the Getz/Bill Evans sessions, and the Getz/Chick Corea sessions as a double album. If you can find a good copy (or the originals), they are some of my favorite Getz.
What I got out of it was there wasn't the details that kick the audiophlia in to the listening. I can listen to the recording and just enjoy the music instead of analyzing
the usual depth of soundstage, image positioning and the ring of the sax bell. It's just a more simple recording that lets me concentrate on the music.
Agree with both of you...different from one another, but both excellent.
For those of you that may be interested Mosaic is gettin g ready to release a 4 LP set.

Stan Getz: The 1953-54 Norgran Studio Sessions (4 Audiophile LPs)

"Like many of his generation, Getz was drawn to the subdued, airy tone and relaxed phrasing of Lester Young, and found a way to combine it with the advancements of bebop. His triumph was in forging a musical signature that remained fresh and stylistically flexible, even as new styles and musical ideas came and went." - Ashley Khan, liner notes

One of our favorite exercises at Mosaic is to identify wonderful, forgotten little pockets in a great artist’s discography. A perfect example is the 1953-54 Stan Getz Quintet with Bob Brookmeyer which we shelved because it was too small even for a Mosaic Select. But after we launched a new, focused vinyl-only series of 3 and 4-LP sets, it became the perfect candidate.

Chronologically, these sessions for Norman Granz fell just after the quintet dates with Raney, before Getz had risen to the dizzying heights of extreme popularity and when he was still basking in the glow of his stint as part of Woody Herman’s Four Brothers saxophone section. Released on the Clef and Norgran labels just at the transition from 10-inch to 12-inch LPs, the tracks got recycled on Verve across many records, were combined with other songs from other dates, or were forgotten entirely.

Now, for the first time in decades, they are available again on LP. Three alternate takes buried in the vaults, and a recording of "Pot Luck" initially released on 78 only, appear on LP for the first time ever. It’s a great retrospective of the music of a man who reached an almost unparalleled position in jazz and widespread, international celebrity.

The group on these Norgran sessions was a real working band, and valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer’s soloing ability was up to the task of matching Getz’s standards. His musical pairing with Brookmeyer was one of those inspired arrangements that produced exceptional music.

The 180-gram pressings of this 4-LP set were mastered from analog sources using the original Clef/Norgran master tapes.

Limited Edition: 5,000 (4 Audiophile LPs - $100)
Thanks Ferrari; should be great.
Definitely, placing my order for that one! I have a few Mosaic Records box set, and found them to be exquisite.