A recent discussion among jazz researchers disclosed what to many of us was news, that there exists video of Stan Getz and Eddie Sauter performing portions of Focus. There has never been anything else quite like the 1961 Verve album of Getz soloing over, around and inside Sauter’s dazzling score for orchestra. Getz was widely quoted as saying that of all his recordings, it was his favorite. In 1964 Getz and Sauter had a return engagement, the music for an Arthur Penn film starring Warren Beatty. Shortly after they made it, Getz told me, “If you think Focus was good, wait until you hear the movie soundtrack I just did with Eddie.” The film was Mickey One. The music suits the movie, which is brilliant, quirky and uneven. Getz’s playing and Sauter’s score were superb, but in the nature of movie music, their job was to accommodate to the film’s twists and turns. The score falls short of the overarching vision and consistency of Focus. I have always assumed that Getz’s enthusiasm for Mickey One was inspired by immediate post-session euphoria. There is more about how the Mickey One music came about in my notes for the CD reissue of the soundtrack.
At any rate, the Focus video that has surfaced is said to be from the Edie Adams television show, which ran on ABC for 13 episodes in 1963 and 1964. I presume that it is her voice at the beginning. The clip is preceded by promo slides in two languages, and the film has the look of a kinescope that has been transferred a few times, but the sound quality is generally good. We hear a bit of “Pan” and “Once Upon a Time.” This is a find.
There are reports—or rumors—of additional video of Getz and Sauter with other music from Focus, but so far no one seems to have found it.