2010 CD collection.
The dedication of both men is apparent throughout the complete Montmartre recordings; at one point, Stan even stopped the concert to change his reed, mischievously offering drinks on the house. On every selection, Kenny is a marvel of empathy, ingenuity, and energy bordering on the sublime and frequently brimming over. He not only had to attend to Stan’s musical cues, but to his wavering physical capacity, which, combined with the perfectionist diligence that threatened Getz’s equanimity, demanded ultra-sensitive reflexes on every tune, every night.
There are countless moments when Kenny reads Stan’s mind, complementing him on a wavelength we are privileged to overhear. Several of the most exhilarating moments occur when (following the piano solo) they read each other’s minds, achieving contrapuntal ecstasy. Elsewhere, there are moments that may induce tears or perhaps an epiphany regarding the delicate line between love and anguish.
While the public has had seventeen years to absorb People Time, Jean-Philippe has had custody of the tapes that documented all seven sets played over four nights. Now we can all return to that week in March at the Montmartre, but do not think that this is simply more of the same. The complete People Time is a profoundly different experience; the context transforms each selection, revealing unsuspected dramatic juxtapositions and a heightened array of nuances.
Before delving into these seven mini-epics, consider the overall terrain: forty-eight selections consisting of twenty-four tunes, nine played once, seven played twice, seven played three times, and one played four times. The repertoire is divisible by two, pop standards and jazz pieces (no blues). All thirteen of the standards are love songs, five with love in the title. Four are meditations on lost love (“Autumn Leaves,” “Gone with the Wind,” “The End of a Love Affair,” “Hush-a-Bye”) and the rest explore the renewal of love. The jazz pieces, excepting the robust “Bouncing with Bud” and the wistful “Whisper Not,” are darker, more demanding works that frequently evoke rarified heights of expressive eloquence.
In the case of Charlie Haden’s “First Song” (composed for his wife Ruth), a level of transcendence is attained that has little equal in the oeuvres of Stan Getz or Kenny Barron or anyone else.
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