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Bob Brookmeyer: Bob Brookmeyer & Friends

The frontline here is Bob Brookmeyer on valve trombone and Stan Getz on tenor saxophone. The rest of the band is Getz’s vibraphonist (Gary Burton), Miles Davis’ pianist and bassist (Herbie Hancock and Ron Carter) and John Coltrane’s drummer (Elvin Jones). Forty years ago it may not have been all all-star session, but it is now.

In new liner notes, Gary Burton tells the story behind this album. The session was tense with conflict between leader Brookmeyer and producer Teo Macero. Brookmeyer had brought original compositions to the project; Macero wanted to do all standards, in order to capitalize on the fact that Getz, in 1964, was arguably the most popular jazz musician in the world. They bitterly compromised and did both.

The music reflects not the slightest suggestion of stress in the studio. It sounds like these six relaxed “friends” don’t have a care in the world-even though the four young sidemen are responding to an unfamiliar, decidedly mainstream, musical context. Only Hancock is mostly unrecognizable. Carter, Jones and Burton all sound like polite, careful versions of themselves.

Macero was right. The standards are exquisite. On “Misty” and “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face,” the languid lyricism of the two horns is corruptingly decadent.

Originally Published