Gary Foster: The Peacocks

The alto flute is the Lauren Bacall of musical instruments. Its slightly lower pitch than the concert flute makes for a huskiness that's, as the French say, très sexy. Indeed, in To Have and Have Not (1944), Miss Bacall herself provides the best instruction on playing it: "You just put your lips together and blow." The lips here belong to Gary Foster, covering a tune best known for Stan Getz's lovely 1975 duet with its composer, Jimmy Rowles, who's also on this track. But just as a peacock's shimmering plumage varies with changes in light or position, flautist Foster fans a gorgeous, thoroughly seductive iridescence all his own.

November 23, 2007 · 0 comments


Stan Getz & Jimmy Rowles: The Peacocks

Rowles was on a roll in the 1970s. After years of accompanying singers and languishing in obscurity, Rowles relocated to New York in 1973, and found himself fêted and fussed over, profiled in The New Yorker, and (in his late 50s) heralded as one of the most celebrated new pianists on the Manhattan scene. It was a great decade for this journeyman musician, but the high point came on this session -- with a major label in his corner, and Stan Getz producing and stepping out of the booth to join in as a sideman. Rowles contributed this deeply poignant ballad, a haunting melody that would become a jazz standard, recorded by everyone from Wayne Shorter to Bill Evans. But this is still the definitive version of "The Peacocks," a ballad performance that ranks among the most memorable jazz moments of the decade.

November 21, 2007 · 0 comments


Bill Evans & Stan Getz: The Peacocks

The first time I met Stan Getz, at his California home in 1983, he made a tape of a Bill Evans recording for me as a gift. Getz, who was typically sparing in his praise, spoke with genuine respect and admiration that day for the pianist, who had passed away in 1980. This live performance was still sitting unreleased in the Fantasy vaults at the time, and would not be issued until 1996. Getz and Evans reportedly had an onstage spat a few days before this recording was made—with Evans even refusing to play the piano at one point in their concert. But one could never guess it from the remarkable musical rapport the duo demonstrated on this delicate ballad performance. For comparison, listeners are urged to check out Getz's 1975 duet recording of this same song with its composer Jimmy Rowles. Both versions rank among the saxophonist's finest work of the decade.

October 26, 2007 · 1 comment


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