Stan Getz on "East of the Sun (and West of the Moon)"

Things have been a bit hectic lately, so apologies for the lack of horizontal searching in the past week and a half. I thought I'd share a transcription of one of the first solos I learned in its entirety: Stan Getz on "East of the Sun (and West of the Moon)" playing duo with Kenny Barron on People Time, a live recording from the Café Montmartre in Copenhagen, March 1991. 

I first started studying jazz after hearing Stan Getz's unreal sound on "The Girl from Ipanema," which I still think is one of the definitive and inimitable saxophone sounds of all time (I actually couldn't listen to Coltrane or Dexter Gordon for the first few years I began learning to play—I liked Getz's sound too much to divert much attention to other approaches). This particular recording is Getz's last recording, made three months before he passed away, and his playing is deep: his sound is more raw than in the live recordings in the years before this final record (Anniversary! and Serenity are excellent companions to People Time, both quartet sets recorded live at Café Montmartre), and his melodic improvisations have a real urgency that you can hear in the audible strain when he struggles to take deep breathes. Getz reputedly asked Kenny Barron to take longer solos during his final duo engagement here because of how painful it was for him to play at this point, but the selections on the double-disk set are all worth repeated listenings.

Another point of interest for Getz-ophiles: it's fascinating to compare this late-era Getz recording of "East of the Sun" with the recording made early in his career on West Coast Jazz (1955) over 35 years earlier—it's striking how more earthy and dynamic his sound is on People Time than on West Coast Jazz, but how the overall approach to improvisation has largely remained true to pure, unpretentious melodic exploration. Comparing "Night and Day" from People Time to the takes from Stan Getz and Bill Evans (1964) also reveals how Getz's playing has changed and how it changed between playing in that quartet setting and in an intimate duo with Kenny Barron; what does stay the same is Getz's tendency to hear the #11 on the Ebmaj7 on the A sections, the voice leading from Bb to A natural over the first four bars of the form. 

I'm aware that the complete recordings from Getz's engagement at Café Montmartre are now available, but haven't had the chance to purchase them and check them out; hopefully when things ease up a bit in a month or so I'll be able to take a listen. Until then, here's Getz's solo from "East of the Sun":






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