Donald Harrison, Jr. (far left) and the New Orleans Music Interns (photo: Joel A. Siegel)
10. Stan Getz and Kenny Barron: “Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise” (People Time; EmArcy, 1991)
Once again live in Copenhagen, Getz pared the band down to a duet with Kenny Barron, by then acknowledged as one of the music’s grand masters. It would be the saxophonist’s final recording, made three months before he died of liver cancer—indeed, “Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise” comes from the gig’s final night, wherein Getz was too ill to continue after the first set. To say that he sounds weak and unsteady would simply be true; his shortness of breath and faltering tone are very much on display. But so are his passion for the music, his particular love of this song (a favorite source of quotes in his solos), and his immaculate chemistry with Barron. Almost despite itself, “Softly” is among the most life-affirming specimens from Getz’s rich career.