Fontessa – 1958

Stan Getz and Donald Byrd


The only time that Stan Getz and Donald Byrd were filmed together

Tenor-saxophonist Stan Getz and trumpeter Donald Byrd both had long careers that overlapped for at least four decades.

Despite that, they rarely crossed paths and were only documented playing together on one occasion, which was fortunately filmed.

In Germany on July 29, 1958, Getz and Byrd performed John Lewis’ “Fontessa,” a song rarely performed by anyone outside of the Modern Jazz Quartet.

With fine if unseen backing by pianist Hans Hammerschmid, bassist Doug Watkins and drummer Art Taylor, Byrd (who here sounds a bit like Clifford Brown) and Getz (who displays his usual beautiful tone) swing together, making one wish that this had happened on other occasions.

-Scott Yanow

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