This four-LP set contains a great deal of extraordinary music from Stan Kenton, most of it recorded live in concert or taken from radio transcriptions. Kenton is heard reminiscing about his first 15 years in the business, there are some selections taken from his famous 1941 stint at the Rendezvous Ballroom in Balboa, CA, numbers from rehearsals in 1944, radio airchecks dating from 1944-48, some startling performances by Kenton's Innovations orchestra of 1950-51 and a few swinging numbers from his 1952-53 big band. Virtually all of the music is rare, making this an essential acquisition for collectors.
Basically, what you see is what you get: all of the recordings Stan Getz did for the Norgran and Clef between December of 1952 and January of 1955. Most of this material has been issued several times – at least – by numerous labels legally and illegally. What makes the Hip-O Select set the definitive issue is, besides proper licensing, that all of these cuts, the 10" albums – Stan Getz Plays, The Artistry of Stan Getz, all three Interpretations volumes, and Stan Getz & the Cool Sounds – along with all the single and EP releases for a total of 45 sides – three of them previously unreleased – and a pair of studio cuts that appeared on the otherwise live Stan Getz at the Shrine appear in chronological order.
This two-CD sampler is most highly recommended for listeners not familiar with Stan Getz's recordings of the 1950s and '60s. Starting with a version of "Stella by Starlight" that co-stars guitarist Jimmy Raney, this set matches Getz's cool tenor with such artists as trumpeters Dizzy Gillespie and Conte Candoli, trombonist J.J. Johnson, baritonist Gerry Mulligan, pianists Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans and Chick Corea, valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer and vibraphonist Gary Burton. Also included are his two main bossa nova hits "Desafinado" and "The Girl from Ipanema" along with a couple of tracks from Getz's highly-rated Focus album. It's a fine overview of the great tenor's middle years.