Mark Colby: Speaking of Stan: A Tribute to Stan Getz

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David Franklin

Mark Colby

Prominent Chicago tenorist/educator Mark Colby’s Speaking of Stan is a fitting homage to his long-time friend and musical influence, Stan Getz. The program includes some tunes associated with Getz, such as Benny Carter’s “Only Trust Your Heart,” Gigi Gryce’s “Blue Getz Blues” and Gary Burton’s “Out of Focus,” but also contains lush string compositions by Bob Meyer and Chris Madsen (“When It Matters” and “Give and Take”) as well as a barnburner by the leader himself (“What Is a Buddha?”) that Colby thinks Getz “would have enjoyed [playing].” A special connection to Getz is the presence of former Getz pianist Jim McNeely on four tracks, one of which is a poignant duet with Colby on Gordon Jenkins’ “Goodbye.” The varied instrumental settings also include an arrangement featuring Rob Parton’s big band.

Colby’s sound, phrasing and general approach to improvising do reflect his great admiration for the tenor icon, but are by no means imitative. He’s an excellent, distinctive player in his own right, and a listener not familiar with Getz would nonetheless be impressed by Colby’s fine tone, smooth-flowing ideas and solid swing.