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    Brush With Greatness - Stan Getz

    This week we hear from listener William Weckesser

    Hi Terry:

    Years ago I travelled to the Nice Jazz Festival as part of a group tour. Our leaders were Ted O’Reilly of CJRT-FM and John Norris of Coda Magazine. The great Jim Galloway travelled with us also.

    The festival was run by George Wein, who also ran the Newport Jazz Festival. For that reason Nice came to be known as “Newport East.” Wein made sure the performers on the Riviera matched those of Newport as closely as possible.

    The concerts took place in the late afternoon and evening. In the early part of the day we were free to do whatever we wanted in Nice. Many of us strolled down to the Mediterranean to walk along the boardwalk.

    One day I decided to walk right down to the water to see up close the deep azure colour of the sea. I remember walking on the pebbled beach and putting my hand in the water and then turning to the right. All of a sudden I saw a man on the boardwalk pacing, head down, looking at his shoes. He had an anxious look. he seemed distressed. All of a sudden it struck me: Stan Getz. I had just seen him perform on the stage in the olive grove two days before.

    On stage Stan Getz seemed fairly amiable and very cool. So I could not figure out why he looked so uneasy on the beach. Years later I got a clue when I read something Zoot Sims had said about Getz, something which became a very, very famous quote: “Stan is a nice bunch of guys.”.

    In 1979 I was able to see two of the guys. One, the leading tenor sax player in live performance and he other the introspective man pacing the boardwalk. I never saw him but, I also never forgot the encounter.

    - William Weckesser

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