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Night Lights Classic Jazz

Late Autumn: Stan Getz, 1987-91

Long a troubled star in the mid-20th century jazz world, at the end of his life saxophonist Stan Getz found peace and made some of his finest recordings.

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The album cover for Stan Getz's SERENITY.

Photo: CD cover art

The aptly-titled SERENITY was one of several live recordings that Getz made in his sober twilight years.

Stan Getz had one of the warmest, most lyrically rapturous sounds to ever come out of a tenor saxophone, and he rode that sound to jazz stardom in the late 1940s as part of the “Four Brothers” saxophone section in Woody Herman’s big band, taking a spellbinding solo on the tune “Early Autumn.”

Getz would go on to an extended career of professional success, with his bossa-nova jazz records of the early 1960s in particular gaining wide attention. But his personal life was often a mess, dogged by addictions to alcohol and drugs that took a heavy toll on his family and friends. “Stan’s a nice bunch of guys” Herman bandmate Zoot Sims once sarcastically quipped, alluding to the saxophonist’s volatile, unpredictable personality.

In the mid-1980s, however, as Getz approached the age of 60, he finally managed to embrace recovery and to find a peace that had eluded him for most of his life. He also teamed up with pianist Kenny Barron, whom he once called “the other half of my musical heart,” and made recordings that critics now consider to be some of the best of his career. They’re featured on this edition of Night Lights.

Music Heard On This Episode

Warm Valley
Paris All-Stars/Stan Getz — Homage To Charlie Parker (A & M, 1990)
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Warm Valley
Paris All-Stars/Stan Getz — Homage To Charlie Parker (A & M, 1990)
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I Remember You
Stan Getz — Serenity (Polygram, 1991)
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What Is This Thing Called Love
Stan Getz — Anniversary (Polygram, 1990)
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Blood Count
Stan Getz — Anniversary (Polygram, 1990)
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Apasionado (midpoint music bed)
Stan Getz — Apasionado (A & M, 2012)
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Soul Eyes
Stan Getz — Bossas And Ballads: The Lost Sessions (Verve, 2003)
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Night And Day
Stan Getz — People Time (Polygram, 1992)
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When I'm Called Home
Abbey Lincoln/Stan Getz — You Gotta Pay The Band (Polygram, 1991)
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David Brent Johnson

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, David Brent Johnson moved to Bloomington in 1991. He is an alumnus of Indiana University, and began working with WFIU in 2002. Currently, David serves as jazz producer and systems coordinator at the station. His interests include literature, history, music, writing, and movies.

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