Stan Getz was a tenor saxophonist of the first rank who, while exploring and pursuing a purity of musical expression, maintained a large following. He attracted it early in his career with his recording of "Early Autumn" with the Woody Herman band in 1948, more or less sustained it during the Fifties (which were not always tranquil times for him), and then, in the early Sixties, expanded it as he helped introduce Brazilian bossa nova rhythms to jazz. With "Desafinado" and other tunes, Getz established a sound and a beat that appeared and soared on the charts that rank recordings by the number sold.
When he died in 1991, he was one of the most esteemed jazz figures among musicians, critics, and general listeners. He gianed this acceptance despite never having compromised his art.
Although Getz played attractive compositions tastefully with harmonic and melodic sophistication, so too did many substantial musicians who never received much critical and popular acclaim. The primary reason for his greatness and his popularity lies elsewhere, in his tone. It is uniquely his. Big and pure and rich and definite, it possesses such an intrinsic appeal that master saxophonist and innovator John Coltrane proclaimed his envy of it — and Roost Records released a Getz album in the Fifties called, simply and accurately, The Sound.
Getz recorded his most sublime creations during his long affiliation with first the Clef and Norgran labels and then Verve Records, from 1952 to 1971.
Benjamin Franklin V
Excerpted from: The Essential Stan Getz