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A Salute to Getz
By Becca Newell
Infectious melodies, understated rhythms, and harmoniously rich tunes—the Monty Alexander Jazz Festival is adding a little samba to its Saturday lineup.
The matinee show, on September 1st, will highlight an extraordinary range of American and Brazilian musicians, featuring tenor/alto saxophonist Harry Allen.
For those unfamiliar with bossa nova jazz, think of the 1965 Grammy Award-winning Record of the Year “The Girl from Ipanema”. The worldwide hit by American saxophonist Stan Getz and Brazilian guitarist João Gilberto perfectly encapsulates the fusion of American jazz and Brazilian samba, which it inevitably popularized across the globe after its release.
“[Getz] was one of the greatest jazz saxophonists ever and probably the greatest technical saxophonist ever,” says tenor/alto saxophonist Harry Allen. “He had an incredible sound and melodicism and that’s why he was chosen to record with some of the best Brazilian artists at the time.”
Allen refers to Getz as one of his heroes, so it’s only fitting that his performance at the Avalon be a tribute to this pioneer of modern jazz. He’ll be joined on stage by vocalist Maucha Adnet, drummer Duduka da Fonseca, and vibraphonist Chuck Redd. More specially, their “Salute to Stan Getz” will be an homage to the Getz/Gilberto collaboration of which “The Girl from Ipanema” was the first track on the 1964 album.
With more than thirty recordings to his name, Allen has been called the “Frank Sinatra of the tenor Saxophone,” renowned for his inventive, lyrical tone that’s rooted in tradition.
“From the 1930s through the 1950s, saxophonists strived to get a beautiful mellow sound,” he says. “And so, in a way, I’m a throwback because there aren’t many saxophone players today who prefer that older approach to sound.”
Allen’s admiration of jazz’ early sound even extends into the instruments he uses—a saxophone and mouthpiece that were made in the 1930s. According to Allen, his goal isn’t to recreate the sound of that era, but rather incorporate that subtle, more melodic approach in his own playing.
Similarly, vocalist Adnet, drummer da Fonseca, and vibraphonist Redd are deeply familiar with the origins of bossa nova jazz, each having a strong connection to the origins of this music. Both Adnet and da Fonseca worked with iconic composer, Antônio Carlos Jobim, who played piano on the Getz/Gilberto album. And Redd played drums for Charlie Byrd, who was one of the key jazz musicians, along with Stan Getz, to bring Brazilian music to the United States in ‘60s.
A native of Brazil, Adnet spent spent 10 years performing and recording with Jobim before he passed away in 1994. While touring with him, she visited America for the first time, eventually moving to New York City in 1987.
With her plush, soulful tone, it’s unsurprising that Adnet has performed with a plethora of prominent figures in both worlds of jazz and Brazilian music, including Claudio Roditi, Herbie Mann, the late Oscar Castro Neves, and the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band. Critics continually praise the alto for her ability to sing with seemingly effortless intensity.
“A Salute to Getz” is sure to provide the ideal showcase for Allen’s trademark tone and Adnet’s rich and sultry voice. Add to that da Fonseca and Redd, and you’ve got a delightfully rhythmic, sweetly swingin’ treat.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit Jazzonthechesapeake.com or call 410-819-0380. The Monty Alexander Jazz Festival is partially underwritten by the Maryland State Arts Council and the Talbot County Arts Council. Jazz on the Chesapeake is a program of Chesapeake Music.