Moonlight in Vermont is a 1956 album by jazz guitarist Johnny Smith, featuring tenor saxophonist Stan Getz. Titled for Smith’s breakthrough hit song, it was the No.1 Jazz Album for 1956. It was popularly and critically well received and has come to be regarded as an important album in Smith’s discography, in the cool jazz genre and in the evolution of jazz guitar. Notable songs on the album, which reveal the influence of Smith’s experiences with the NBC Studio Orchestra, and as a multi-instrument musician, include the title track and the original composition “Jaguar”. The title track, singled out for its virtuosity, was a highly influential rendition of a jazz standard that secured Smith’s position in the public eye…
Though in 1963 some purists considered Reflections to be certain evidence that Stan Getz had sold out and abandoned "real jazz" completely, the album is actually, while perhaps not a masterpiece, an artful and intriguing sidebar to the tenor saxophonist's now celebrated bossa nova period. Getz was always a sublimely smooth and lyrical player who had already recorded in an orchestral setting on the groundbreaking Focus, and had a number one pop hit with Jazz Samba. It was only natural, then, that he would want to combine the two concepts.
When Stan Getz visited Paris to witness the French Open tennis matches, he would hang out at the Blue Note nightclub to hear how the locals did it, being told their jazz scene was not up to snuff. In London, he would pick up the European band he heard in Paris for an engagement at Ronnie Scott's. Because of his stature, Getz was able to grab the very best musicians the continent could provide, in this case the brilliant Belgian guitarist René Thomas, organist Eddy Louiss from Martinique, and French classical and jazz drummer Bernard Lubat.
One of the more remarkable aspects of Stan Getz's 1972 masterpiece is just how organic he was able to keep the sound. The band surrounding Getz on this Columbia date was led by Chick Corea with his Return to Forever (electric) bassist Stanley Clarke, drummer Tony Williams, and Brazilian master percussionist Airto. With the exception of Clarke, all the rest had played with Miles Davis in his then-experimental electric bands. Corea's Return to Forever was just getting itself off the fusion ground, while Williams had been with John McLaughlin and Larry Young in Lifetime on top of his experience with Davis.
Stan Getz was such a consistent performer and had such a beautiful tone that nearly all of his recordings are well worth getting. The two radio appearances heard on this 1997 CD are even on a higher level than normal. Joined by pianist Kenny Barron, either Ray Drummond or Yashuito Mori on bass, and drummer Ben Riley, Getz is heard at the peak of his powers on a pair of obscurities (Kenny Barron's "Feijada" and Gigi Gryce's "Stan's Blues") and six numbers (including "Voyage," "Blood Count" and "Warm Valley") that he recorded numerous times. To hear Getz adding even more beauty to Mal Waldron's already gorgeous "Soul Eyes" is a memorable experience.
Having reunited for 1976's The Best of Two Worlds, saxophonist Stan Getz and Brazilian singer/guitarist João Gilberto celebrated the album's release with a week of shows at San Francisco's Keystone Corner. Marking over a decade since the pair had made history with 1964's landmark Getz/Gilberto album, the shows, which took place between May 11-16, 1976, would prove one of the rare times they appeared live together. Resonance Records' 2016 album, Getz/Gilberto '76 (and the separate release Moments in Time), documents these shows via live recordings made by Keystone Korner club owner Todd Barkan.