Stan Getz (with Chick Corea): Litha
Stan Getz (tenor sax)
Sweet Rain (Verve 8693)
Composed by Chick Corea.
Recorded: March 21, 1967
Rating: 97/100 (learn more)
Stan Getz's name is often linked with that of Zoot Sims, Al Cohn and other disciples of Lester Young who came of age in the period following World War II. But Getz always had a more daring temperament than these others, and greater willingness to put himself in unfamiliar settings, trusting that his musical instincts would guide him through unscathed. And, unfailingly, they did just that.
Getz's occasional collaborations with Chick Corea are a case in point. Corea was himself in the midst of a fertile period of experimentation and threw many curveballs at the tenorist, including proto-fusion and neo-Latin charts. Getz was on the heels of his own huge bossa nova success and could have easily continued in that vein indefinitely, but here he digs into Corea's intricate "Litha," which includes meter changes (6/8 to fast 4/4), modal interludes and some unconventional harmonic movement. Needless to say, nothing in Getz's formative experience with Jack Teagarden, Benny Goodman or even Woody Herman prepared him for this. No matter . . . Stan positively flies over this chart as if he had written it himself.
This is exhilarating music. The rhythm section of Corea-Carter-Tate is as good as any Getz would ever employ; they challenge the leader at every step along the way, and he asserts himself in return. In short, there is not the slightest touch of saudade anywhere on this track. I wish Getz had undertaken more sessions of this sort, but I am grateful this one took place before Corea went off into fusion-land and the tenorist went through his own period of musical redefinition in the late 1960s and 1970s.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia