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Reviews: Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto: Getz/Gilberto

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Reviews: 17

Review by Christine Tham January 31, 2003 (11 of 11 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This is definitely a "classic" Latin jazz album that many people will be familiar with. Latin rhythms such as samba and bossa nova were wildly popular in the 60s and were hailed as the "New" sound. Recently there has been a resurgence of interest in Latin jazz after years of neglect, and certainly many people would know of the signature tune "The Girl From Ipanema" even if they do not like it.

Getz/Gilberto is the second album featuring saxophonist Stan Getz exploring the genre. The first, "Jazz Samba", featured Stan with guitarist Charlie Byrd went to No. 1 on the US Billboard album chart, but it was essentially a group of white jazz musicians emulating the Latin sound. This time around, Stan decided to collaborate with the real McCoys: guitarist/vocalist João Gilberto and pianist/composer Antonio Carlos Jobim. It also featured the debut of sultry singer Astrud Gilberto - João's wife - on "The Girl From Ipanema" and "Corcovado." The circumstances of how a demure housewife got a chance to sing in the recording sessions are varied but as they say, the rest is history.

I own several versions of this album: an old, extremely scratched and battered LP, as part of a collection entitled "Stan Getz: The Girl From Ipanema: The Bossa Nova Years", the Verve Master Edition remastered CD, and now the Super Audio CD. The SACD easily bests them all - including the LP which was bought second hand. If the LP had been in a better condition, things might have been different. In any case, this is simply a must buy if you own an SACD player.

What struck me about the SACD version (in comparison to the Verve Master Edition CD and an earlier reissue) was the additional "presence" and definition of the voices and also the saxophone. The saxophone "leaps" onto the soundstage and almost seem "larger than life." Similarly, Astrud Gilberto's voice has a relaxed, lilting quality that seemed more "solid" on SACD, with no trace of "harshness.". Lastly, the cymbals seemed to have an additional timbral detail, "tinkle" and clarity to them that seemed more "natural" than the "forced" sound on the CDs.

In other respects, though, it was hard for the SACD to improve upon the already excellent Master Edition CD (downsampled from the 20-bit transfer). In particular, I did not really notice any improvement in imaging and the slight mid-range stridency I found on the CD is also present on the SACD. Hiss is omnipresent on both versions, and probably indicative of the age of the recording.

I noticed several instances where the SACD was revealing more of the recording's faults than the CD. In a few places, I thought I heard very minor tape dropouts and high frequency phase shifts (normally associated with tape head misalignment) that were less noticeable on the CD. I attribute these to the superior resolution and micro-dynamics of the SACD rather than a fault in the transfer.

The SACD has the same tracks (including two bonus tracks from 45 rpm issues) as the Verve Master Edition. The bonus tracks have a very narrow soundstage and I suspect they are monaural recordings. The booklet is also identical to that on the remastered CD and feature a retrospective essay by Doug Ramsey (November 1996) as well as the original liner notes and facsimiles of the original album cover and artwork. Like all other Verve-issued SACDs, it is packaged in a super jewel box. There is only one layer, which is a pity because if it was a Hybrid it would give me an opportunity to get rid of my Master Edition CD.

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Review by Marc P March 1, 2003 (0 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Not much to add to the review of Christine. It's a great album and it deserves nothing but good reviews.

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Review by petermwilson July 15, 2003 (1 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
DITTO on the previous reviews.
Does it help to be over 50 to start appreciating types of music that was previously disinteresting, or is it the fidelity of these new HIREZ formats that have gotten me all exicted?

There I go talking to myself again.

Peter m.

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Review by projectmayhem325 July 21, 2003 (2 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I have never heard the performers breathing before in my life. A new level of depth is truly apparent over all other versions I have ever heard. Before every note Stan Getz plays, before every line Astrud Gilberto sings, you can hear their breath, and this gives the music a much more intimate feel, almost always overlooked and "cleaned out" of other mixes.

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Review by monotone July 16, 2004 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
My demo disc when I was hunting for a SACD player. Had both the SACD & remastered redbook edition of the album with me. The SACD copy demostrated all the characteristics of its superiority over redbook... tighter, better controlled lows, sweeter 'analog-like' highs and a much more defined & deeper soundstage. Both Astrud & Joåo's vocals were definitely the ideal choice to show-off SACD's capabilities.

This is also a great intro album to the sounds of Bossa Nova.

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Review by ColoKurt June 14, 2005 (5 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I don't disagree with the other reviewers. The quality of Getz's sax or either Gilberto's voice is very, very good on this SACD. However, if like me you love a good sound stage, don't get your hopes up here. On most of the cuts all the drums come in from the left speaker while the guitar and piano are all right speaker. On "Ipanema," Astrud Gilberto's voice is all right speaker, which is very unusual and more than a bit distracting. Stan Getz's sax and Joao Gilberto's voice are center image. I guess you have to pretend that its not really Joao Gilberto playing the guitar since the sound comes from a different place than his voice. Frankly I think they should have released this as mono, like the last two extra cuts that were included. The CD sounds great, but don't look for a realistic sound stage.

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Review by JW July 4, 2005 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Pour yourself a glass of [...] and load this disc, the perfect companion to a late night listening session. The sound is excellent overall, especially if your system excels at the midrange because that is where are the action is here. There are a few peculiarities to be aware of. There is a little stridency on the sax when played loud. I prefer this disc on lower/medium levels. The soundstaging is indeed like described in the other reviews - it's a somewhat simplistic approach. On Corcovado it's almost like they staged it ;-) - Gilberto starts in the right speaker, Getz comes in in the middle and Banana's drums follow in the left speaker. As a total listening experience this SA-CD deserves good marks so do not let this audiophile disecting stop you from acquiring it if you like the Latin bossa nova and just want to chill out. Recommended.

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Review by HumanMedia June 12, 2006 (1 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Love the music and love this SACD of it.

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Review by boguspomp July 2, 2006 (4 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
When I went down the list of new reviews I came to this SA-CD and had to put it into the player right away.
What can I say ? I know this recording since 1965, when I was born, as my dad played it quite frequently. When I got my first record player in 71', it was mine from then on together with some Jimmy Smith and Dave Brubeck.
Since the advent of CD I bought 3 different versions and was always a little distracted by the rather harsh sound of the saxophone and the piano.
I still listened to it over the years and with the Superbit version as my last red-book CD, the sound got better.
As soon as I got my SA-CD/DVD-Audio player this was in the first bunch of 22 Disks I purchased.
What is there more to say then, this is it, this is THE definitive version of 1 of the best albums ever made ?
- my wife just came down the stairs and said " how wonderful this sounds ..."
Can't agree more. It has so much more air/space to breathe then ever before and the bass and drums are as realistic as they could be;
Saxophone harsh ? No way. A warm and again real sound makes this album so cooool.
Thx to Sony for SA-CD, as many of my all time favourites are re-released in their best ever versions. Blu Ray is a flop, but SA-CD is a winner. Please don't let this format die.
Ah, just moved a little away from the subject.

All you folks outthere still hesitating, because it's 1 of these ancient old albums, not even recorded in DSD and only stereo, get this album and many more like Dave Brubeck right away.
You won't regret it.
This is what we call music.

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Review by zeebee January 14, 2007 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Just to add my to cent's worth to the reviews above,

Born in the same year of the recording, I must have listened to the music on inummerable occassions especially the Girl from Ipanema but without really 'digging' into album until I found a copy SACD in the bargain corner recently. And what a bargain this is, and a real bonus to add !!! Now regularly spinned on my player and even my young daughter (born 2000 AD) has shown interest in it. "Jazz ..." says she while clicking her fingers while I murmured "Bossa Nova" smillingly back to her.

Music .. I mean good music transcends all ages. Recommended.

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Review by FX168970 February 8, 2007 (3 of 3 found this review helpful)
Almost unbelievable that this recording was made over four decades ago! Where other tapes got mixed to death, less is more here. That means more of the music got left the way it was supposed to sound. And now I see why they picked this album for the SACD edition. Getz's Sax and Gilbertos voice sound so real! Delivery is fullbodied and subtle. Bass is better defined and positioned than on CD. More transparency & detail than on the CD. Although it is my first SACD - I don't want to go over the top. To keep the perspective: You can tell the recording is old. Astrud does come from the right speaker only! So, why can't I stop putting this disc back on all the time? Timeless Bossa Nova and excellent sound.
To me, this album represents the charm and genteel persuasion that one hopes to find in Rio de Janeiro - or a holiday anywhere else. Treat yourself & get this SACD.

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Review by flytomars June 19, 2007 (18 of 25 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This is my first review here, and indeed the reason why I joined this site-
I will not comment on the music, since it would be pointless, for obvious reasons.
The sonics however...
I am really dumbfounded at how this SACD gets so much praise.
When I first put this SACD in my stereo, I had to grab my head in pain (and no, its not a metaphore).
I never thought of myself as an audiophile, or a person with extra hearing abilities, but the first thing that struck me when I heard this one was a high pitch tone (around 15-16Khz frequency range) which made my listening experience quite a disaster.
I just had to plug my computer and grab this one via the analog outputs, to analyze it- the results are in the attached links.
As you can see, you dont need to have any superhuman abilities to hear this tone- its VERY LOUD.
This appears on all the versions of this title, apart for the regular CD - this "dog sound" was filtered out (funnily enough, some audiophile CD versions of it were not filtered).
So, in other words-
If youre ear stops at 14.5Khz, or you have some sort of notch filter in your head- get this version, it is great.
AVOID AT ALL COSTS (if your hearing is important to you) and buy the less dynamic/non harmful CD version.
(I did not hear the japanese SACD version so cannot comment on it)

Some images of the sound spectrum from this SACD:

And the regular CD version:

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Review by Metoo August 11, 2007 (8 of 9 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
As Flytomars mentions, there is a spike of signal(noise?) at about 15,500 Hz, but what he does not say is that the spike never goes above -48db. As per my personal analysis - after doing my own recording of the material and checking out the spectral display -, the 'noise' seems to be especially present in the first song, while less so, for example, on the 5th one. There are also some signs of another signal or noise at about 31.5 kHz in some parts of the first and 6th songs. These could be harmonics of the other one. In any case, I believe this 'noise' must be present in the original tapes. (BTW, as an interesting note it seems that some musical information on a few of the songs goes up to about 30kHz).

On another note the frequency spectrum graph Flytomars posts of the CD seems to show that this noise was doctored out in that version, as is obvious by the blank space seen at that frequency on most of the songs.

I can make no other observation about this as I have not heard the JSACD, nor the CD and thus cannot venture comparisons.

Albeit the noise mentioned by Flytomars (which I personally have been able to see on the graphs, but not hear) and other tape wear flaws noticeable on this disc, this SACD sounds very nice to me.

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Review by Amfibius August 26, 2007 (2 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I just came across flytomars' review - very interesting, thanks for your comments. I have the Japanese SACD version and have never noticed this noise at 15kHz that you mention. I just pulled it out again for a listen and there is nothing there. Does the noise also afflict the RBCD layer of your SACD?

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Review by StyleAndEntertainmen November 14, 2009 (5 of 9 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Well, I am very late to this party, but wanted to weigh in with a highest of recommendations for album. Don't know how I missed it, but am I glad it finally found me.

Pros: Ahhhhhh, where do I begin :) I am completely mesmerized by that girl. On this disc we get to two cuts: a studio and 45 release. The studio cut is my favorite because you can really hear the tentativeness and fragility of Astrud's singing. The fluidity continues with Desafinado, Corcovado, and others that integrate the samba and jazz worlds perfectly. Overall, the sound quality is excellent given the age of the recording and with the caveats below.

Flaws: Yes, there are flaws in the recording and production and some tape noise. But this should in no way detract you from buying this disc. If you're an 18 year old virgin, and can hear the 15Khz -48 db tone, then I would STILL recommend you buy this disc. Play it every year until you can no longer hear that tone (sooner than you might think) and enjoy the wonderful syncopation, tasteful instrumentation, and soulful vocals for the rest of your life. Yes, the production choices for placing instruments and vocals in the sound stage is questionable (OK it's bad). But you quickly adapt, and, if you can play the disk in mono, many of these issue disappear.

In summary, don't miss out on years of listening to this fantastic music like I did. It's a classic in the league of Kind of Blue and Time Out. Buy, play it, share it, enjoy it again and again.

Highest Recommendation


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Review by Dmitry. February 14, 2011 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Getz/Gilberto is one of the best records in the history of music as an art form, not just jazz music.
This disc is a remarkable improvement on the 20 bit Master Edition cd. Verbiage will not describe the life-like quality of Stan Get's sax and Joao Gilberto's vocals. Doug Ramsey's excellent liner notes are also reproduced from the cd edition.

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Review by HeresJohnny June 7, 2013 (1 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Iíve just listened to the three different SACD versions with my headphones and the result is somewhat surprising to me. Iíve concentrated mainly on the track ďSó Danço SambaĒ for direct comparison on Verve 589595, Verve (Japan) UCGU-7031 and the Verve (Japan) UCGU-7031.

Iíd have to conclude that the AP and the Japanese releases are needledrops. There are some disctinct pops which are not present on the 2004 Verve. Also, the Verve is more clear in almost every respect, I can even hear the nails on the guitar, which is completely lost in the other releases. The 2004 Verve sounds a bit brighter in comparison because they pumped up the lower mids and higher bass freqs for the guitar on the newer SACD, but IMHO this is just sand in your eyes and you donít get more details.

This release is the most clean, neutral and analytical and my preferred one.

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