Stan Getz / Charlie Byrd: Jazz Samba

Thanks to its superior capacity, this energy-saving CD version of the seminal Latin jazz LP includes a whole other album, Big Band Bossa Nova


There have been several reissues of this seminal album over the years (this month also on vinyl). Charlie Byrd was sponsored by the US government to tour 18 Central and South American countries in 1961 as part of a cultural exchange programme. His trio partners, bassist Keter Betts and drummer Buddy Deppenschmidt, travelled with him.

They were introduced to the bossa nova in Brazil and on returning home planned to make an album of the music. With this in mind, Byrd invited Stan Getz to join a new sextet along with percussionist Bill Reichenbach and Byrd’s bassist / guitarist brother Gene. The result was Jazz Samba – it sold 500,000 copies and sparked a nationwide bossa-nova craze.

Jazz Samba comprises eight graceful and impeccably relaxed numbers. Seven are composed by Brazilian musicians such as Jobim, Baden Powell and Ary Barrosa with Samba Dees Days being written by Byrd. An extended version of O Pato, minus Getz and featuring Byrd, is added as a bonus. This rendition is even better than the initial O Pato. There are two other bonus tracks – a shorter version of Desafinado that came out as a single (for which Getz was awarded a Grammy) and Three Stars Will Shine Tonight aka The Theme From Dr Kildare.

Accompanying Jazz Samba (although you wouldn’t know from the current cover title) is a bonus album, Big Band Bossa Nova, with Getz fronting Gary McFarland’s orchestra. It features luminaries such as Clark Terry, Hank Jones, Jim Hall and Bob Brookmeyer. Byrd is absent on this one. Manha De Carnival is a highlight but sometimes the big band approach doesn’t quite tally with the cool intimacy expected in the bossa-nova style. Even so Big Band Bossa Nova reached number 13 in the American Billboard chart at the time.

The CD is accompanied by a 20-page booklet with Dom Cerulli’s and Gary McFarland’s original liner notes and an appreciation by Brian Morton.

[Jazz Samba] (1) Desafinado; Samba Dees Days; O Pato; Samba Triste; Samba De Uma Nota Só; É Luxo Só; Baía;[Big Band Bossa Nova] (2) Manha De Carnival; Balanço No Samba; Melancólico; Entre Amigos; Chega De Saudade; Noite Triste; Samba De Uma Nota Só; Bim Bom; [bonus tracks] (3) (a) Desafinado (single); (b) Three Stars Will Shine Tonight; (c) O Pato (78.00)
(1) Getz (ts); Charlie Byrd (g); Gene Byrd (g, b); Keter Betts (b); Buddy Deppenschmidt, Bill Reichenbach (pc). Washington, 13 February 1962.
(2) Getz with Gary McFarland And His Orchestra: Doc Severinsen, Bernie Glow, Joe Ferrante, Nick Travis (t); Clark Terry (flh); Bob Brookmeyer (vtb); Willie Dennis (tb); Tony Studd (btb); Ray Alonge (frh); Ray Beckenstein, Arthur ‘Babe’ Clark, Walt Levinsky (cl); Jerry Sanfino (f); Eddie Caine (af); Romeo Penque (bcl); Hank Jones (p); Jim Hall (g); Tommy Williams (b); Johnny Rae (d); Carmen Costa (pc); José Paulo (tam). New York, 27 & 28 August 1962.
(3) (a) same as (1); (b) Getz with unidentified orchestra. New York, 15 June 1962; (c) same as (1) but omit Getz & Deppenschmidt. New York, 18 April 1962.
20th Century Masterworks 170059