Stan Getz & Kenny Barron: Soul Eyes

The musical relationship between Stan Getz and Kenny Barron blossomed in 1987 with a concert by Getz's quartet at the Café Montmartre (released on the CDs Anniversary and Serenity). It culminated in the last performance and recording by Getz in 1991 at the same venue, this time in a duo format. Getz was in very poor health by 1991, weakened considerably by his battle with cancer, and was out of breath after his solos. However, as Barron wrote in his liner notes for People Time: "...the music is real, honest, pure and beautiful in spite of the pain or perhaps because of it."

As good as Getz and Barron were together on heated up-tempo numbers, there was something extra special about the way they communicated with each other and an audience on their ballads, which always projected an entrancing lyricism. Mal Waldron's classic "Soul Eyes" is a case in point. Barron's tranquil intro prepares the way for Getz's breathy, subdued opening phrase of the melody. Getz then surprises with a somewhat jolting, anguished exclamation before returning to his silky and sensuous meditation on the theme, only to repeat his outbursts during the second chorus. Barron's supporting arpeggios and chords are intimately realized and on equal par with the saxophonist's magical eloquence. Getz spaces out his phrases at first in his improv (catching his breath?) prior to infusing it with more elongated lines and additional hollered declarations. Perhaps unplanned, Barron's solo takes up the rest of the track, with a crystalline touch and a transfixing narrative momentum. He moves from long runs to rich chordal passages, and finally an ethereal interlude that transforms "Soul Eyes" into something sparklingly new of his own creation. The audience responds ecstatically.

April 22, 2009 · 0 comments


David Murray & Mal Waldron: Soul Eyes

"Soul Eyes" is Mal Waldron's most famous composition, recorded by John Coltrane on Interplay for 2 Trumpets and 2 Tenors from 1957, and given a quasi-definitive interpretation by the same artist on the 1962 Coltrane LP. Here, a year before his death on December 2, 2002, Waldron collaborates with David Murray on a rich and wide-ranging exploration of "Soul Eyes," which is featured as the concluding track on the 2008 Justin Time duet release Silence. Over the course of 14 minutes, Murray and Waldron create a wondrous ebb-and-flow, moving from restrained lyricism to four-to-the-bar swing to pointillistic introspection before concluding with wide, sweeping bass clarinet lines over Waldron's aggressive pedal-point comping. A fitting memorial to a much missed artist.

July 24, 2008 · 0 comments


John Coltrane: Soul Eyes

This Classic Quartet tour de force packs an emotional wallop while exhibiting great restraint throughout. Coltrane first recorded Mal Waldron's jazz standard with the composer at the ivories in March 1957. The band was the Prestige All-Stars, and it was also done at Van Gelder Studio but back in the original space in Hackensack. This session, some five years later, yielded this issued take after two unreleased passes in April. The sensitivity of this band never fails to move me, with the rhythm section in particular always threatening to boil over, then returning to that tasteful simmer.

July 20, 2008 · 0 comments


Art Farmer: Soul Eyes

In the early 1960s, trumpeter Art Farmer took up the flugelhorn, attracted by its richer, woodier sound. With the flugelhorn, however, you must sacrifice some of the trumpet's range, sharpness of tone, and volume. So 30 years later, instrument designer David Monette created the flumpet specifically for Farmer, which afforded him the best of both worlds. "Soul Eyes," one of the most enchanting ballads ever written by a jazz musician, was also tailor-made for Farmer's trademark lyricism. This nine-minute track never drags as Farmer caresses the melody backed by Keezer's adroit comping and the sensitive support of Davis and Nash. Farmer's long solo is beautifully sculpted, and with his dreamy phrases and surging lines succeeds in capturing the tune's essence better than most others have. Keezer displays some of the best playing of his then young career in his following solo, his daring, intricate runs and freshly voiced chords making quite an impression, clearly inspired by Farmer's artistry. As Farmer reiterates the theme, you luxuriate in his distinctive sound and his refined grace notes and embellishments.

April 08, 2008 · 0 comments


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