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As Good as it Getz

Who’s the hardest workin’ man in local music?

That’s a very short list, but it’s safe to say that you can put jazz guitarist Ron Getz at or near the very top. This summer he’s played venues from Traverse City to Petoskey every single day from the second week in June through September 20.
“Last Friday I played three gigs in one day,” he recalls. “It’s been a busy summer.”
And once summer ends, Getz picks up giving music lessons – teaching guitar to up to 60-70 students per week while continuing to play clubs across the region.
Getz, in short, is a busy guy. Yet if you’ve somehow missed him, it’s still possible to hear some of his best licks on his new CD, “The Sentencing Phase.”

Getz, 47, recorded the CD with members of his Trio, including Jason Kott on bass and vocals and Matt Hayes on drums. Both have extensive backgrounds in jazz, pop, funk and world music. He also recorded duets with standout local musicians, including singer Dawn Campbell, singer/songwriter Mike Moran, pianist Jeff Haas, and bassist Aaron Wolinski.
Four of the songs on the album are instrumentals written by Getz, including the titular “The Sentencing Phase,” “Well Wisher,” “Bird Licker” and “Death and Oranges.” The remainder of the CD is made up of covers by Bob Marley: “Exodus,” “Stir It Up” and “Waiting in Vain,” with vocals by Jason Kott; a Bob Dylan song, “Most of the Time,” with vocals by Mike Moran; and the Stevie Wonder hit, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” with vocals by Dawn Campbell.
Getz says his aim was to put his own spin on each cover tune.
“When people listen to their iPods they go from one thing to the next with the different styles of music they listen to,” he reflects. “That’s what I do in my life — I have an interest in different kinds of music. And if I play a cover tune, I try to make it my own.”
In that respect, listeners are also likely to bring their own spin on “The Sentencing Phase.” If you like instrumental jazz with an edge for what’s on the diamond cutting disc of the genre these days, then Getz’s instrumentals are sure to please. Those who prefer traditional song structure and vocals will find it hard to top Mike Moran’s atmospheric take on “Most of the Time” for capturing the heart of a Dylan song.

0Getz gets a bit obscure as to the meaning of his album’s title.
“‘The Sentencing Phase’ is a term that can mean what’s happening in your life as well as in the world, especially in this country,” he says. “It’s more about a feeling. A lot of songs can apply to either your personal life or have a wider meaning.”
Some of the songs on the album grew out of his frequent performances with
Jason Kott, who’s noted for his smooth delivery of Bob Marley tunes, and with blues & pop stylist Dawn Campbell. Frequent venues for the Ron Getz Trio
or Getz & Campbell include Boyne Mountain and the Grand Traverse Resort. Getz is also a regular at Chandler’s in Petoskey and his trio plays improv jazz each Monday at Lil Bo’s in TC.
The CD was impeccably recorded and produced at Kott’s Levity Productions studio. The album is a family and friends effort with Getz’s artist son Dan Willette providing the cover art.“I’m real happy with it,” Getz says. “It represents what I think music is all about now. If you can have your own style and maintain that and your personality through any kind of music, that’s a good thing. To me it’s all an opportunity to be creative.”

by Robert Downes
Northern Express.com 2006


  1. Bird Licker
  2. Exodus
  3. Death and Oranges
  4. Most of the Time
  5. The Sentencing Phase
  6. Stir It Up
  7. Signed, Sealed Delivered (I'm Yours)
  8. Well Wisher
  9. Waiting in Vain