Cafe Montmartre opened at the end of the '50s, when Stan Getz had chosen Denmark as his country of adoption. He'd played the club at the heart of the old city on countless occasions; the address had changed in 1976, but the Danish public continued to show the same support, and the same affection. Getz was perfectly conscious of this, and when the time came for him to celebrate his 60th birthday, what venue could have been more appropriate than the Cafe Montmartre? Danish television and radio came, and the latter recorded the concert. For Stan is was something quite different from a simple family reunion: "I thought that those concerts could be my last ones, and that gave me the feeling of 'Now I really have to try my best.' In my fantasy, I was singing my musical swan song."
Masterpieces followed improvisations that were unbelievable. Never before had Getz composed such a moving version of 'I Can't Get Started,' nor had he ever served such a masterfully concise 'Blood Count.' And as for the Johnny Mercer/Jimmy Van Heusen standard 'I Thought About You,' it was so far from showing its respectable age - almost a half-century - that it seemed to have been written the day before. And written just for Stan, like 'Falling In Love,' by pianist Vic Feldman, a former partner. On that night it was the impeccable Kenny Barron who sat down at the piano, accompanied by the fearless Rufus Reid and Victor Lewis on bass and drums.
When Getz returned to the Cafe Montmartre in 1991 to bid farewell, only Barron would accompany him. The time for facile whims and self-satisfaction had long gone; the outcome of his long combat with illness had become inescapable. Never yet, in his improvisations, had Getz shown impressive height of vision; never, ever, did he show the slightest inclination to surrender. Nobody will dare to perform 'People Time,' 'Soul Eyes' or "First Song' again. The versions played at the Cafe Montmartre during that month of March were not to be contested. Stan had come home, and for the last time, in front of a familiar audience, he would tell some of those marvelous stories whose secret was his alone; stories filled with emotion and dignity, stories that were unimaginable, but true: "I never played a note I didn't feel intimately, and I'd like that to be my epitaph."
Stan Getz, tenor saxophone
Kenny Barron, piano
Rufus Reid, bass
Victor Lewis, drums