Revisiting Gilberto and Getz in ’76

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João Gilberto (1931–2019)

(Photo: YouTube Screenshot)

To mark the passing of João Gilberto, we’re revisiting the piece below, which originally ran in our March 2016 issue.

Resonance Records producer Zev Feldman unabashedly refers to the tapes of Stan Getz’s quartet and Brazilian guitarist/singer João Gilberto at Keystone Korner in May 1976 as “the crown jewels.” They are now available as two albums, Moments In Time (by Getz’s quartet with pianist Joanne Brackeen, drummer Billy Hart and bassist Clint Houston) and Getz/Gilberto ’76, featuring the same personnel, plus the legendary guitarist.

“When [Resonance founder] George Klabin and I learned about these tapes, we realized how important they were,” Feldman said. “And when I finally heard them, I just melted. I started thinking about how we could get these performances out to the public, and I never stopped thinking about it.”

Former Keystone Korner owner Todd Barkan, now a New York City-based producer, couldn’t stop thinking about them, either.

“For years, I kept those recordings in a sealed box like a little savings account,” said Barkan. “I’ve long considered these recordings to be the anchor of the club’s legacy, and it has been a mission of mine to get these out someday.”

“We started working with Todd in 2009,” said Feldman, “and at first he wasn’t even willing to discuss the possibility. We had to prove ourselves.”

One of the keys for both Barkan and Resonance was ensuring that all the rights were cleared, performers or their estates paid and the packaging put together in a way that reflected the performances’ historical importance.

Feldman and Klabin interviewed pianist Brackeen and drummer Hart—the surviving members of Getz’s quartet—and commissioned essays from jazz historian James Gavin and critic Ted Panken. Barkan and Getz’s son Steve contributed commentary, and Feldman wrote about the quest to bring the recordings to the public.

“This project took three years,” said Barkan. “The term ‘labor of love’ is terribly overused, but this is one.” DB