Stan Getz / Joao Gilberto – Getz/Gilberto ’76 (review)

Stan Getz / Joäo Gilberto – Getz/Gilberto ’76 (Resonance Records) review

Never-before released live date features the legendary duo in a rare reunion

Stan Getz and Joäo Gilberto single-handedly helped the worldwide spread of bossa nova through their breakout album, 1964’s Getz/Gilberto. Yet, surprisingly the two would rejoin only a handful of times after. Resonance Records recently discovered tapes of the duo during a week-long stand at the Keystone Korner in San Francisco and have released them as Getz/Gilberto ’76.
When called upon, Getz dazzles with his melodic solos, but the spotlight here is squarely placed on Gilberto, with his mesmerizing, vibrato-less vocals and supple guitar work. Several songs, like “Aguas de Marco” and “Retrato em Branco e Preto,” come from a then-recent studio album the pair did called The Best of Two Worlds.

For proof of Gilberto’s greatness, check out the rendition of “Rosa Morena,” featuring just Gilberto’s hushed voice and guitar. There is an intimacy here that is purely magnetic – it blows away the classic performance from Getz/Gilberto #2 (which was recorded live at Carnegie Hall).

There is no “Girl From Ipanema” (Astrud Gilberto, whom both artists were romantically involved with at one time, was not invited to this reunion). In fact, “Doralice” is the only track they played from their 1964 album (and the one that gets the best response from the audience).

The crowd is especially reverent (Gilberto had famously walked out on audiences he felt weren’t paying attention). This was a legendary jazz club that seated only about 200 people, and the coziness can be felt in these recordings. In order to capture the breathy vocals from Gilberto, there are times when some tape hiss is evident – but it’s certainly worth it.

Resonance continues to push for the uniqueness of the physical product. The album’s booklet contains numerous essays on both artists, the club, and the bossa nova style. An instant classic – and a legendary reunion that does not disappoint. —Tony Peters