Claude Nobs started what is today one of the most respected festivals in the music world over forty five years ago when he founded the Montreux Jazz Festival. Little did he know at the time that it would grow to be what it has become today. It has grown from hosting the world’s best jazz artists and groups to being the venue that every band and artist across the spectrum dreams of playing. It has indeed hosted some of the best of the best and some of the best to be, as is evidenced through the deal made between Montreux Sounds and Eagle Rock Entertainment. The deal between the two companies has garnered some of the best live recordings to date. It has also helped Eagle Rock maintain its place at the front of the class in terms of live recordings. And it has continued to do so with the release of a recording that is a classic Montreux performance in every form of the word. The recording in question is of the late great sax player Stan Getz. The recording in question is taken from Getz’s very first ever performance at Montreux in 1972. He is joined by two other very highly respected jazz artists in keyboardists Chick Corea and drummer Tony Williams. Along with bassist Stanley Clarke, the quartet’s performance stands as a true tribute the legacy of not only the Montreux Jazz Festival, but to its now dearly departed founder, Claude Nobs. Mr. Nobs would have been proud to see this recording finally see the light of day. And so will true jazz lovers, too.
True lovers of jazz will appreciate this recording for a variety of reasons. One of those reasons is the backstory provided by Corea himself in the DVD’s bonus booklet. Corea states in the bonus liner notes that the quartet seen in this recording was also the group that ended up going out on tour with Getz prior to the show in 1971. According to Corea, Getz was planning to go out on the road in ’71, but had no band with which to tour. After making some contacts, the group presented here is the group that toured together. It’s obvious that during that tour, a bond had formed between the band members. Getz pulls back time and again throughout the roughly hour long set, allowing his band mates to get their time in the spotlight and then some. It was his quiet way of telling the audiences that the show wasn’t about him. It was about everyone on stage. Again, this is echoed through the sentiments shared in the DVDs bonus booklet. Corea shares so much insight on how he came to be friends with Getz and on how the group grew as friends and individuals. So few people take the time to read liner notes, etc. on DVDs, Blu-rays, and CDs. But this is one of those examples of why those booklets and liner notes aren’t always just wasted ink. It helps to make this show more than just a recording. Because of those liner notes, it becomes a fully immersive musical experience and equally important historical document of sorts.
The bonus booklet included with Stan Getz: Live at Montreux 1972 is but one part of what makes this live recording so enjoyable is the performance of the band. As Corea noted in the bonus booklet, the band seen in this recording is the same band that toured with Getz the previous year. What’s so amazing about the performance is that while the band had already played a handful of shows through 1971, just watching the band’s members perform together here one would think that they were playing together for the first time. There was so much energy among the entire group in every song. Williams’ drumming was completely off the charts. It goes without saying that his playing is something to which EVERY drummer today should aspire. The precision yet seeming controlled chaos of what he did is awe inspiring, even today. And Getz’s own performance on the likes of ‘La Fiesta’ is just as incredible. He proved that he was just as talented playing rather up-tempo pieces as he was playing slower pieces, like ‘Lush Life’ and the show’s opener, ‘Captain Marvel.’ The way that his fingers moved on ‘La Fiesta’, one would expect them to get tangled among themselves. And his breath control, handling such long strains is incredible. That set against his chops on the set’s slower songs proves why he is still so revered among jazz artists and musicians overall even today. Corea exhibits his own talent throughout the show. Again, it is something audiences must see for themselves to fully appreciate. And appreciate it they will when they pick up this performance both on DVD and CD. That’s right. It’s available not only on DVD, but CD, too. This is another positive to the recording’s overall presentation.
Stan Getz: Live at Montreux 1972 is a stunning tribute both to the legacy of Stan Getz and his band mates, and to the festival’s late founder, Claude Nobs. The DVD presentation alone is outstanding for a variety of reasons. Two of those reasons are already listed off here. It is put over the top thanks to the inclusion of a solely CD recording as well. This is hardly the first time that Eagle Rock has included a CD recording as an option for its live recordings. As a matter of fact, Eagle Rock has done so with pretty much every live recording that it has released to date. So why is this performance so important on both DVD and CD? It is important because it completes the documentation of this classic performance and solidifies even more both the talents of the musicians presented here and the legacy of the Montreux Jazz Festival. The performance is available now on both DVD and CD. More information on this and other Montreux Jazz Festival recordings is available online at http://www.eaglerockent.com and http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.