01 JUN 11 CHRIS SLAWECKI
There isn't another album in Stan Getz's catalog quite like Early Stan, which features Getz with Jimmy Raney and Terry Gibbs, part of Concord's Digital catalog. It combines multiple sessions from 1949 through 1953 that featured the fledgling tenor saxophonist in various configurations with numerous musicians; most notably Jimmy Raney on guitar, Shorty Rogers on trumpet, and Gibbs on vibes, all spotlighted as featured soloists.
Even if Early Stan is an assorted bag of sessions and sidemen, everyone involved sounds devoted to the singular purpose of jamming through tunes written by Raney, Rogers and Gibbs. Terry, Shorty and Stan jump through the swinging round of solos simply titled "T&S." Raney's bop guitar, escorted by Getz's courtly sax, darts nimbly through his kinetic tunes "Signal" and "Motion." Three takes of "Terry's Tune" construct an agility course for Gibbs' fluttering vibes to race through, and whoever subtitled "Cuddles (Speedway)" wasn't kidding -- this breakneck sprint could make even an Indy car driver dizzy.
The poignant yet oblique, mysterious romanticism of "'Round Midnight" provides another great vehicle for Getz' to introduce and study the sturdy but gracefully elegant tenor sound that he would explore and refine, throughout his career, into his unique musical signature. The Prestige two-fer Stan Getz (1997) compiles another sampling of his early work; later highlights include the live Quintessence Volume 1 (Concord Jazz, 1991) and Volume 2 ('92) with Chet Baker.