Acoustic Sounds

Stan Getz/Charlie Byrd

Jazz Samba



Label: Verve/Acoustic Sounds Series

Produced By: Creed Taylor

Engineered By: Ed Greene

Mixed By: Ed Greene

Mastered By: Ryan Smith

Lacquers Cut By: Ryan Smith

By: Michael Fremer

August 31st, 2023





Which "Jazz Samba" Sounds Best?

if ever there was a "belongs in every collection" record, this classic is one

"Jazz Samba" wasn't the first Bossa Nova record released in The United States, and it wasn't called one, but it was, and upon its release in 1962 it broke open the Brazilian music floodgate. Within months of its release there was Bossa Nova everything. This record was also the first in a popular series of Creed Taylor produced Verve releases featuring on their covers Olga Albizu's abstract art. It was a winning formula.

Recorded in a single day ("3 to 4 hours" according to engineer Ed Greene in the below video) February 13th, 1962 in Pierce Hall All Souls Unitarian Church, the album also made Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd household names in non-jazz loving households. Everyone from jazz "purists" to jazz haters loved this record. It hit #15 on the Billboard pop charts and went higher on the easy listening chart. While it was easy to listen to, it was hardly the kind of fluff found back then on the easy listening charts. The exposure of "Desafinado" to American audiences also made a star of the dashing and cool Antonio Carlos Jobim who'd written the song in the late '50s.

While Getz gets first billing here, Charlie Byrd was the musical engineer behind the record, having returned from a tour of Brazil with his trio featuring bassist Keter Betts and drummer Buddy Deppenschmidt, both of whom play on this record. Byrd added his brother Gene on bass—then a student at the nearby Peabody Conservatory so nepotism was not involved—and a second drummer, Bill Reichenbach because that was commonly done in Brazil. Getz brought "Desafinado" ("Out of Tune") to the group, inspired by Joao Gilberto's version.

Most of the album is up-tempo feel good music anchored by Getz's dreamy sax lines but side one ends with Brazilian guitarist Baden Powell's minor key haunting "Samba Triste"—another album highlight.

The recording benefits from the church's spacious ambience and engineer Ed Greene's excellent microphone and placement choices. It still sounds superb 60 years later and the music remains as fresh as it is not in the least bit challenging. It's a classic that's held up remarkably well musically and sonically.

I compared this recent reissue, part of the Verve/Acoustic Sounds series, with an original pressing bought when the record first was released that's held up remarkably well, with a Speakers Corner 1996 reissue mastered by Kevin Gray at AcousTech mastering and with a double 45 Analogue Productions 2013 reissue mastered at Sterling Sound by George Marino.

All of these versions sound good. You'd have to work to ruin it. However, this new Ryan Smith edition, sounds remarkably similar to the original pressing, especially the high frequency transients that help clarify Charlie Byrd's guitar setting it pleasingly against Getz's breathy but powerful, voluminous sax. The KG cut is somewhat softer overall and the double 45 version is also not quite as well-clarified. If you've already got any of those, you're set. If you have none of those, this is a record you'll most likely enjoy now and for years to come. Comes in a laminated Stoughton "tip-on" jacket

Music Specifications

Catalog No: V6-8432/B0036830-01


Speed/RPM: 33 1/3

Weight: 180 grams

Size: 12"

Channels: Stereo

Source: original master tapes

Presentation: Single LP


  • 2023-08-31 03:40:12 PM

    Fred Morris wrote:

    A soundtrack to many lives. Byrd seems underestimated IMO. Wish someone would reissue his best Riverside work. Clean copies hard to find.

  • 2023-09-01 01:25:52 PM

    Eric Lubow wrote:

    One of my favorites of all time. I often play it for guests. Unbelievable recording! I have most of the above versions, even the Waxtime, which sounds excellent as well. You can’t go wrong with this masterpiece…

  • 2023-09-01 09:32:28 PM

    bwb wrote:

    which makes me wonder how these compare to my 1982 Verve Polydor K.K., Japanese reissue and my DCC reissue which according to the cover was re-mastered by Steve Hoffman on all vacuum-tube cutting system on August 21, 22, 1995 on HQ - 180g vinyl from the original master tape

    guess I will never know

    • 2023-09-02 07:58:25 PM

      Michael Fremer wrote:

      I forgot to pull out the DCC! I have it. Egregious omission…

      • 2023-09-06 03:26:11 PM

        Dor Avidan wrote:

        A friend came over and brought his Ryan Smith copy and we compared it to the DCC I have. I’m going to sell my DCC soon due to the results. The new one is a vast improvement. I also have an a OG mono which is a fold down. That one has more punch, but is very trebely and is not very articulate.