Stan Getz: Nature Boy
Stan Getz (tenor sax)
Cool Velvet (Verve/Polygram PLG 527773.2)
Stan Getz (tenor sax),
German partial rhythm section; members of the Stuttgart Symphony Orchestra.
Composed by Eden Ahbez; arranged and conducted by Russ Garcia.
Recorded: Baden-Baden, Germany, March 1960
Rating: 97/100 (learn more)
Charlie Parker (and producer Norman Granz) really started something when Bird got his wish to record with strings. The critics and some fans weren't pleased, but Clifford Brown soon followed suit, and since then, every saxophonist (or trumpeter) worth a split reed has to confront his violins at some point: Hawk, Sonnys Criss and Rollins, Chet, Al and Zoot each, Arts Farmer and Pepper, Ornette, Joe Lovano … the list just goes on. Some, like Stan Getz, were strung out—so to speak—several times.
Getz's improvisations over Eddie Sauter's tunes and arrangements for the brilliant album Focus garnered the praise, but Stan had already recorded a ballads-and-strings LP for Verve; and anchoring Cool Velvet is his solo over Russ Garcia's chart for the fanciful song "Nature Boy" by odd cat Eden Ahbez. This melody has lured jazzmen from Nat King Cole to John Coltrane to Grover Washington, but none has given it a more anguished and passionate reading than Getz. The cry of his "voice" is more of a cri de coeur. Whatever was haunting him that day is right there in his horn and immediately in the hearts of all who hear, a precursor to the stripped-down "Blood Count" registered three decades later. Sax-and-strings albums are for life's Romantics. In that vein, one might say that "Blood Count" was to die for ... while "Nature Boy" demands that you live through and overcome.
Reviewer: Ed Leimbacher