Recorded 1983 at Robert Mondavi Winery, Napa Valley, California - Stan Getz - Tenor Saxophone; Jim McNeely - Piano; Marc Johnson - Bass; Victor Lewis - Drums
"It's a pleasure to be here," says Stan Getz, surveying the California landscape from the open-air stage he's performing on. It's different to the dives I play in." And it clearly inspired this famously uncompromising saxophonist in the performance that's captured on this
The first set is chiefly made up of material by pianist Jim McNeely, who writes with a fine melodic touch, and it sets the great cool saxophonist off into a series of beautifully-shaped improvisations that will repay many viewings and
listenings. Stan's quartet also includes a scintillating rhythm team in bassist Marc Johnson, who had come from working with Bill Evans in the pianist's last trio, and drummer Victor Lewis. A brisk reading of Bud Powell's bebop classic 'Tempus Fugit' is the climax of the set. There's a brief nod to his popularity as one of the leaders of the jazz Bossa Nova movement in the 1960s, and a delightful treatment of Dave Brubeck's engaging theme 'In Your Own Sweet Way.' But
the major set pieces in the program are Stan's astonishingly beautiful ballad interpretations of two Billy Strayhorn compositions: 'Lush Life,' dedicated to the memory of the saxophonist's father, and the haunting 'Blood Count,' a piece which Strayhorn composed in the last days of his life. The glorious Stan Getz tone has never sounded better than it does here.