A.B. SPELLMAN, National Endowment for the Arts: We're listening to People Time, by Kenny Barron and Stan Getz on Verve. Murray Horwitz, why did we select this particular record for the Basic Jazz Library?
MURRAY HORWITZ, American Film Institute: Because, A.B., I think this is a remarkable recording, because it enables you to really hear what jazz music — what any music — is about, when more than one person performs.
It's a two-CD set of nothing but duets, piano and tenor sax. And, if you know a lot about jazz or don't know anything about jazz, you can hear two musicians working with each other, playing off of each other, and all of the wit and commentary and support that goes along with it, just like when two people get together in life.
A.B. SPELLMAN: Now, people who are trying to assemble a basic jazz library may have heard Stan Getz, but they may not know Kenny Barron. But you and I would think of him as a true major musician.
MURRAY HORWITZ: Absolutely. I think you and I are in an agreement when it comes to jazz piano at the turn of the millennium. Kenny Barron is as good as it gets.
A.B. SPELLMAN: No pun intended.
MURRAY HORWITZ: As in "There Is No Greater Love."
A.B. SPELLMAN: It seems that when musicians get older that they get more spare, they get more selective in their notes. When they're younger, they seem to want to play every note they know.
MURRAY HORWITZ: Well, you've touched a nerve, because that's the other part of this record — the story behind it. This is the last recording that Stan Getz made. It is his all but last public performance. These songs were recorded at the Café Montmartre in Copenhagen in March of 1991, precisely three months to the day before Stan Getz died of cancer.
He knew he was dying when he made this recording. As I say, it would have been a remarkable under any circumstances, because it's just nothing but piano and saxophone duets. The fact that Getz knew he did not have much time gives it an added poignancy. And, the poignancy is not only in the ballads. It's in the up tempo tunes too.
A.B. SPELLMAN: We've been listening to and discussing People Time. It's Kenny Barron and Stan Getz's duets on Verve. This is our recommendation for your basic jazz record library. For NPR Jazz, I'm A.B. Spellman.
MURRAY HORWITZ: And I'm Murray Horwitz.