Stan Getz – The 1953-54 Clef/Norgran Studio Sessions (4LP box set, 180g pressing)

# Vinyl
# Number of Discs: 4
# Format: FLAC
# DR Analysis: DR 13
# Label: Mosaic | MRLP-3003
# Size: 3.81GB (24/96) + 1.04GB (16/44.1)
# Recovery: 5%
# Scan: yes
# Servers: File Factory

The next in the series of Mosaic boxes. Sorry, no 24/192 this time..

From the Mosaic Records website:

“Like many of his generation, Getz was drawn to the subdued, airy tone and relaxed phrasing of Lester Young, and found a way to combine it with the advancements of bebop. His triumph was in forging a musical signature that remained fresh and stylistically flexible, even as new styles and musical ideas came and went.” – Ashley Khan, liner notes

You May Never See This Again

Gaps. We hate them. We admit it, we’re completists, and we can’t tolerate inaccurate personnel logs, song edits imposed on artists, or sessions split up over scattered LPs. We’re compelled to jump in and fix the errors and re-create mishandled recording dates.

Our Stan Getz Quintet box with Jimmy Raney – one of Mosaic’s earliest sets and out of print nearly 20 years – was an example of our efforts to cleanup an important body of music that over time had been reissued haphazardly, and with substandard sound. More recently, when we learned that Getz’s Norgran Studio recordings were coming out on CD, we thought: shouldn’t LP enthusiasts get the Clef/Norgran set in full, sumptuous Mosaic editions, on 180-gram audiophile LP?

Chronologically, these sessions for Norman Granz fell just after the quintet dates with Raney, before Getz had risen to the dizzying heights of extreme popularity and when he was still basking in the glow of his stint as part of Woody Herman’s Four Brothers saxophone section. Released on the Clef and Norgran labels just at the transition from 10-inch to 12-inch LPs, the tracks got recycled on Verve across many records, were combined with other songs from other dates, or were forgotten entirely.

Includes Unreleased Tracks

Now, for the first time in decades, they are available again on LP. Three alternate takes buried in the vaults, and a recording of “Pot Luck” initially released on 78 only, appear on LP for the first time ever. It’s a great retrospective of the music of a man who reached an almost unparalleled position in jazz and widespread, international celebrity. Getz’s relationship with Norman Granz began almost the night of his first big break as a leader, at a Carnegie Hall tribute to Duke Ellington. Performing an up-tempo version of “Moonlight in Vermont,” his easy-listening hit with Johnny Smith, Getz commanded the attention of jazz fans. With Granz, Getz would prove to be highly prolific. And the music? Some of the finest he would make in his career.

As a child, Getz would practice up to eight hours a day, and he even tried to drop out of school to pursue music full time. He had to re-enroll, at least until the age of 16 when he joined Jack Teagarden’s band. Other bands, including Woody Herman’s, would follow, but Getz was a leader from the time he turned 23. Born the year Lester Young was striking out on his own, he created a modern version of his idol’s innovations on tenor saxophone. His touch was delicate, intimate, and caressing, but there was more drive.

Influenced a Generation

While his technical mastery of the instrument was second to none, Getz avoided the showy excesses of bebop and remained true to his roots with a lyrical approach and a coy manner of dragging the beat. He would become an influence himself on a generation of musicians seduced by the “cool” jazz movement – the reaction to bop.

The group on these Norgran sessions was a real working band, and valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer’s soloing ability was up to the task of matching Getz’s standards. His musical pairing with Brookmeyer was one of those inspired arrangements that produced exceptional music. Brookmeyer’s tone was warm and dry, like Getz’s, but the blend they created was only partially about the sonic affinity they shared. They were entirely on the same wavelength when it came to developing and expressing musical ideas – almost like the same guy picking up a different instrument. Credit Getz’s personal sound and free-flowing musical ideas for what identifies this music, but not without equal credit to the byplay with Brookmeyer.

The quintet of this era also included the excellent John Williams on piano, and briefly after Brookmeyer left to join Gerry Mulligan, Tony Fruscella on trumpet. Drummer Al Levitt or Frank Isola and bassist Bill Crow, Teddy Kotick or Bill Anthony round out the line-up. Our set also includes an excellent quartet date with Jimmy Rowles, Bob Whitlock and Max Roach recorded midway through the quintet’s life.

As was common on Granz projects that often featured highlights of the great American songbook, there are many well-known selections included in this release, such as “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),” “I’ll Remember April,” “Give Me The Simple Life,” “Willow Weep For Me,” “We’ll Be Together Again” and many more.

Four LPs comprise our box set, with 26 tracks arranged by session and accompanied by our exclusive Mosaic booklet. It includes an essay by Ashley Kahn with track-by-track analysis and a complete discography. Photos from the era capture the magic as they were making it. The 180-gram pressings of this 4LP set were mastered from analog sources using the original Clef/Norgran master tapes for unparalleled sound.

Much of this music has been unavailable for decades, and to LP buyers, never before released in coherent form. So – we’ve closed another gap. It’s a rare opportunity to hear a young, acknowledged master in top form.


Mosaic Records is known and well praised for their diligence in providing full discographies of their theme box sets. In the case of early Stan Getz material, they have done their homework well by finding the original full-track mono masters (with only one exception, the 78rpm take of “Pot Luck”).

The early ’50s were a rough period for Getz as he began his nearly life-long involvement and fascination with heroin. Norman Granz stood by his artist throughout the trials and tribulations, which included jail time, and was rewarded by Stan’s most extended stay with any label. After Jimmy Raney left Stan’s employment, Getz added Bob Brookmeyer to his group, which was a wise choice as Bob (though only 23 years old) was a cool-toned trombonist, and a composer and arranger that complimented Getz both in tone and style.

On your own, finding the 1953-54 Getz material in playable condition would be quite the chore. Witness the fact that the Interpretations of Stan Getz were issued over three LPs, and the Tenor Saxes material from 1954 featured various artists in a compilation. Only Stan Getz at the Shrine is readily available. In inimitable Mosaic fashion, they enlisted aces Malcolm Addey to handle tape transfers and used Mark Wilder to do the mastering. This ensured a quality product, as both of these gentlemen are at the top of their professions. As a bonus to fill out the set, Mosaic includes two tracks from a 1955 session in which the under-recorded trumpeter, Tony Fruscella, takes the place of Brookmeyer, who had gone on to work with Gerry Mulligan.

Right off the bat on the first record: “Have You Met Miss Jones,” it is readily apparent that Brookmyer and Getz are a great match. Their blend is seamless, and their tone together is mutually pleasing. Making my way to Side B, it became even more clear how impressive the acoustics are on this set. Sound mix is clear, the sound stage is full and impressive for the quintet. Drums are center stage but not obtrusive, and for the time period of these recordings I find no flaws.

“Willow Weep for Me” really shows Stan’s already full formed lyrical skills, for which he is most known. Other highlights from the sessions are two versions of Ellington’s “It Don’t Mean a Thing,” and the tracks from January 23, 1954, where Stan is the only horn and is joined by the always classy Jimmy Rowles on piano and the legendary Max Roach on drums. On “Nobody Else but Me,” Rowles comps behind Stan and Roach’s light touch is just right for this tune. “I Hadn’t Anyone ‘Til You” gives Max a more prominent role on snare. Both of these tracks have nice alternative versions.

A bonus to round out this box set are “Blue Bells” and “Round Up Time” from the end of January 1955, where Tony Fruscella is added to replace Bob Brookmeyer. These two tunes fit in nicely as Fruscella’s soft tone, similar to early Chet Baker, is an easy substitute for Brookmyer’s valve trombone. Tony is a natural match for Getz and we are left wishing there were more meetings between these two horns.

For completist fans of Stan Getz, and lovers of West Coast style jazz, this beautifully packaged set is a wise investment for both its auditory pleasures, and as a way to fill in the gaps of your Stan Getz collection. Brookmeyer fans as well, would do well to snap up this box set to hear how simpatico Bob was as a mate for early Stan Getz recordings. — Jeff Krow,

Track Listing:

Side One
01. Have You Met Miss Jones
02. Erudtion
03. Cool Mix
04. Rustic Hop
05. Love And The Weather

Side Two
06. Spring Is Here
07. Pot Luck
08. Willow Weep For Me
09. Crazy Rhythm
10. The Nearness Of You

Side Three
11. Minor Blues
12. Fascinating Rhythm
13. I Didn’t Know What Time It Was

Side Four
14. Tangerine
15. It Don’t Mean A Thing
16. The Varsity Drag

Side Five
17. Give Me The Simple Life
18. I’ll Remember April
19. Oh Jane Snavely

Side Six
20. We’ll Be Together Again
21. Feather Merchant
22. Flamingo

Side Seven
23. It Don’t Mean A Thing (alt version)
24. Pot Luck (78 take)
25. Blue Bells
26. Round Up Time

Side Eight
27. Nobody Else But Me
28. Down By The Sycamore Tree
29. I Hadn’t Anyone Till You
30. With The Wind And The Rain In Your Hair
31. Nobody Else But Me (alt tk)
32. I Hadn’t Anyone Till You (alt tk)

Limited to 5000 copies.

The original full-track mono masters were used in the creation of the masters for this set with one exception. No tape exists on the 78 take of Pot Luck. This tune was transferred from a 78 rpm pressing by Kevin Reeves.

Original sessions produced by Norman Granz
Recording engineers: Val Valentin and Aaron Nathanson
Produced for release by Michael Cuscuna
Tape transfers: Malcolm Addey
Mastered by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Sound, North Hills, CA

Detailed info for the box set can be found here.


Stan Getz – tenor saxophone
Bob Brookmeyer – trombone
John Williams – piano
Tony Fruscella – trumpet
Al Levitt – drums
Frank Isola – drums
Bill Crow – bass
Teddy Kotick – bass
Bill Anthony – bass
Max Roach – drums

Ripping Info:

All vinyl is cleaned on a VPI 16.5

Technics SL1200-MK5 (modified)
– Rega RB300 arm with RB700 wiring
– Michell Tecnoweight
– SoundSupports armboard
– Trans-Fi Audio Reso-Mat
Shure V15VxMR (with Jico stylus)
SimAudio Moon 110LP preamp
Native Instruments Audio4DJ USB interface

Processing: Sound Forge 10, ClickRepair (manual mode only)

Ripper’s Note: This is an unfolded mono rip. Feel free to fold it yourself if you want.


The tracks in this collection make up the following albums:
Clef MGC 143 – The Artistry of Stan Getz (10″)
Norgran MGN 1000 – Interpretations By The Stan Getz Quintet (12″)
Norgran MGN 1008 – Interpretations By The Stan Getz Quintet #2 (12″)
Norgran MGN 1029 – Interpretations By The Stan Getz Quintet #3 (12″)
Norgran MGN 1034 – Tenor Saxes (Various Artists) (12″)
Norgran MGN 2000-2 – Stan Getz At The Shrine (12″)
Verve MGV 8200 – Stan Getz And The Cool Sounds (12″)

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8 thoughts on “Stan Getz – The 1953-54 Clef/Norgran Studio Sessions (4LP box set, 180g pressing)

  1. Woi thank you so much again… BTW do you got the complete Sun Ship sessions mosaic box?
    Ty in advance for your answer. Awesome job anyway.

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