STAN GETZ — Sweet Rain (review)

STAN GETZ — Sweet Rain album cover Album · 1967 · Post Bop Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
Steve Wyzard
FIRST OF THE REST

Remember the bumper sticker that read "Today is the first day of the rest of your life"? Sweet Rain can be considered the first album of "the rest" of Stan Getz's career. By the time it was released in 1967, Stan had already played with Woody Herman and Johnny Smith, conquered Europe, introduced bossa nova to America, and recorded movie soundtracks, albums with strings, and albums with vocalists. While there had been previous hints of things to come, Sweet Rain would do nothing less than epitomize Stan's "sound" for the rest of his career: smaller ensembles, unassuming formats, and the wistful, ethereal tones that only he could produce.

Three phenomenal players accompany Stan on Sweet Rain: a very young (just short of 26) Chick Corea on piano, Ron Carter (doing some session work in between Miles Smiles and Sorcerer) on bass, and the immaculate Grady Tate on drums. This album features the first appearance of the now-standard Corea composition "Windows", and what a performance it is. No "easy-listening" album this, everyone is given ample soloing space, with Stan soaring above it all. Given his recent bossa nova success, one can't help but wonder if Verve Records "influenced" the inclusion of Jobim's "O Grande Amor" and Dizzy Gillespie's "Con Alma". Slight Latin inflections can be detected in the quartet's sound, but this never becomes even close to a bossa nova album. Corea's powerful "Litha" and the dreamy title track complete the set-list. With Creed Taylor and Rudy van Gelder behind the boards, one might expect a CTI Records prototype, but the wonderful performances prove that assumption mistaken (even if it does prove true with Stan's previous album, Voices).

Retro-flashbacks and reunion albums aside, Sweet Rain, over 50 years later still proves to be a definitive recording of the Stan Getz "sound". This American life truly did have a "second act", and it started right here. And though it certainly can't be considered his best album over a very-checkered recording career, it made possible later masterpieces like The Master, Pure Getz, Voyage, and Blue Skies. Sweet Rain is short and (yes) sweet, yet simultaneously unforgettable and all-encompassing. Enjoy!
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