A Most Magical Sextet


You can't plan magic. You can prepare to succeed or to optimize your opportunities, but magic either happens or it doesn't. It was happening at a 1958 Fantasy Records date by the Cal Tjader/Stan Getz Sextet, and you can hear it even more clearly through the recently released 24-bit OJC Remaster of that self-titled collection.

This session took some doing: Courtly saxophonist Stan Getz and vibesman Cal Tjader had wanted to record together for several years. It finally worked out when Getz performed in Tjader's San Francisco hometown. Getz brought his rhythm section, Billy Higgins and Scott LaFaro. Tjader brought his pianist, Vince Guaraldi. Guitarist Eddie Duran, who had previously played with Tjader and Guaraldi, completed the sextet.

But the music -- a program that plays to the impeccable rhythmic and romantic sensibilities of soloists Getz, Tjader, and Guaraldi -- seemed to come together effortlessly. Guaraldi rocks out his groovy Peanuts sound in Tjader's "Crow's Nest," an apex from which the soloists jump, jive, and wail. Solos by Tjader and Guaraldi in the pianist's "Ginza Samba" start out as sprints and stay there; Charlie Parker's influence, even though he had passed away several years before, on Getz still sounds strong. Getz sings more beautifully in "I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face," in lush and full lines, and swings the beat hard but sounds no less pretty in "For All We Know."

Eddie Duran later recalled that there were no rehearsals before, or any second takes during, this session. You can't plan magic.