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Stan Getz/ Alec Wilder/ Clifford Brown et al.


Larry Kart
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Wheels within wheels here, so bear with me.

Yesterday I picked up an interesting Getz CD on (sorry) one of those European pirate labels , Gambit -- seven nice, decently recorded tracks with the Burton, Gene Cherico, Joe Hunt quartet from a Vancouver radio studio broadcast from 1965, three longish, not very well-recorded tracks from Newport 1961, with Steve Kuhn, Scott LaFaro, and Roy Haynes (LaFaro's last recording), and two tracks ("Four Brothers" and "Early Autumn") by a Getz-led big band at the Apollo Theatre in 1950. Personnel on the big band is promising (e.g. other saxes are Zoot, Don Lanphere, and Mulligan, drummer is Haynes), but those tracks are just reprises of the Herman charts, though there's a tasty Billy Taylor piano solo on "Early Autumn" in the spot where Terry Gibbs plays a vibes solo on the Capitol recording.

The main reason I mention this, though, is that one of the Newport tracks is a striking tune that Getz announces as Alec Wilder's "Where Do You Go?" (recorded by Sinatra on the album "No One Cares") and takes medium-up rather than as a ballad. And the opening of the tune sounded a fair bit like "Joy Spring" to me. (It would have been nice if the Newport material had been better recorded -- the whole band was in top form, but you can't hear LaFaro much except when he's soloing, and Kuhn's sound breaks up a bit. On the other hand, on "Airegin" one can hear enough of Haynes to be fairly well astonished.)

So here's the interesting part. Not having a copy of "No One Cares" and only able to listen to brief clips of Sinatra's and other performances on the Interent, I soon realized that what Getz played at Newport was not that Alec Wilder song. So what was it? Then I figured it out, and is the answer ever strange.

I had the feeling that what Getz played was not a song-with-lyrics song but a jazz instrumental, albeit a lyrical one. Thinking of Stan's quintet with Raney, which played a good many originals, I thought, "Hmm -- Gigi Gryce?" And damned if it isn't Gryce's "Wildwood"!

Now, Stan at Newport does announce the tune as Alec Wilder's "Where Do You Go?," so it's not just a labeling error. Did Stan confuse "Wildwood" and "Wilder" in his mind and just throw in the title of that Wilder song from Lord knows where?

Also, what of the possible passing resemblance between "Wildwood" and "Joy Spring"? If so, "Wildwood" almost certainly came first, and Gryce and Clifford were friends.

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Listen carefully - the spoken intro to that Newport track seems to be spliced in - for what reason I can't imagine. Maybe Getz did play the "Where Do You Go" at Newport that year, and sloppy tape editing resulted in the wrong intro being spliced onto the Gigi Gryce tune. Getz did record the Alec Wilder song at Tanglewood in 1966 with Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops.

As for the resemblance between "Wildwood" and "Joy Spring," well, it's only for a few notes, and whoever copped it from the other probably didn't even realize it.

And yes, that Stan Getz CD is outstanding - I forget which board member recommended it.

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