When Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto produced their classic jazz samba cocktail in early 1963, it fit with the Zeitgeist of the time. "Getz/Gilberto" personified youthful hope and loneliness, sunny beachscapes, gentle breezes and, in its way, innocence. Getz's saxophone was rarely better; the Gilbertos' vocals were calm and whispery. Within months of its release, hope shredded into violence, but the album still evokes wistful memories of summer before the fall.
Eddie and Mad Duran re-visit the emotional terrain thirty-seven years later on their three CD set, "A Tribute to Getz & Gilberto." Five of the pieces from the 1963 record and many more from the era are included in this provocative tribute. The arrangements are leaner, the sound starker: there is only Mad Duran on tenor saxophone accompanied by her husband, Eddie, on guitar.
The Durans take an enormous risk of comparison with the pieces on the Getz and Gilberto album. They play the familiar "The Girl from Ipanema" from a seemingly different perspective. Instead of the original version of a man's unrequited lust from eyeing a beautiful young woman swaying by, the Durans provoke an image that she still sweetly sways; but the woman seems older, less overtly seductive, more confident and sure of herself. But there is still is a heartfelt shrug as she walks away. "Corcovado" still retains the pain of the original version. "The Dreamer" remains delicate. The tribute also includes other notable tunes like "Manha de Carnval" for the motion picture "Black Orpheus," as well as Jobim's "Zingaro," "Once I Loved" and "Favela." The pieces work; they are played convincingly and lovingly.
Mad Duran's playing will inevitably be compared with Stan Getz. Her sound is indeed reminiscent of Getz. It's equally gorgeous, but she has her own distinctive voice. Her weathered tone may be that of a wise woman of Bahia.
While the Durans' tribute will not have the luster and fame of the original "Getz/Gilberto" album, their music is still captivating. And while the times dictate less innocence, their music is still evocative of flaming sunsets and lingering love. The colors may fade but the emotions are timeless. The music will never go out of fashion.