First Appeared at The Music Box, September 2003, Volume 10, #9
Written by John Metzger
By the time he passed away in 1991 at the age of 64, Stan Getz had put together a rather lengthy and remarkable career that moved through swing, bossa nova, bop, and fusion while earning him a reputation as one of the greatest tenor sax players there ever was. Thereís no question that his finest recordings were made between 1950 and 1965, but every few years up until the time of his death, he would release a gem that reminded everyone of what a talent he was. Originally issued in 1972, Captain Marvel was one of these latter-day high points. On the album, Getz embraced the rapidly expanding fusion sub-genre of the jazz world, but he succeeded where many other jazz-rock hybrids failed, largely by utilizing the same loose, organic approach that Miles Davis did on his legendary outings of the late í60s. Of course, it helped that the band Getz employed to back him on Captain Marvel included keyboardist Chick Corea and fiery drummer Tony Williams, both alumni of Davisí group, as well as young percussionist Airto Moreira and an extraordinary, up and coming bass player named Stanley Clarke.
Throughout Captain Marvel, Getzís fanciful flights twisted, turned, and soared with malleable grace, simultaneously reaching towards the heavens while remaining firmly rooted within earthier terrain. Though Getzís name appeared on the front cover, the song cycle was unquestionably an ensemble project. Williams was absolutely brilliant, staying low and subtle one minute, pounding away with ferocious force the next, and Moreira exquisitely painted the corners of each song with exotic splashes of color created from instruments of his own design. Clarke frolicked freely about the lower register, punctuating the grooves with deep rippling waves of bass. And Chick Corea? He penned five of the albumís six magnificent tunes, but itís his electric piano that nearly steals the show by filling in the spaces, adding to the intensity of the percolating rhythms, and providing the rocket fuel for Getzís acrobatic, aeronautical feats.
Captain Marvel was recently remastered and augmented with a trio of bonus cuts that include two stellar alternate takes (Five Hundred Miles High and the title track) plus a sterling interpretation of Coreaís elegant Crystal Silence. Even without the extra material, however, this album is a jazz masterpiece, one that turns Miles Davisí new direction on its ear, mutating it into a wide-sweeping forum for the saxophone.
Captain Marvel is available
from Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2003 The Music Box