Concord Music Group will release five new titles in its Original Jazz Classics Remasters series. Enhanced by 24-bit remastering by Joe Tarantino, several bonus tracks on nearly each disc (some previously unreleased) and new liner notes providing historical context to the original material, the series celebrates the 60th anniversary of Riverside Records, the prolific New York-based label that showcased some of the most influential jazz artists and recordings of the 1950s and '60s.
In the summer of 1955, Chet Baker decided to go on a concert tour of Europe for a few weeks. He ended up staying there for more than six months, and his work and experiences during that time, which was mostly spent in Paris, should be crucial for his career and his life.
This is a rare album Chet Baker recorded in Belgium in 1980 with Steve Houben when he came from Paris and went to Holland and died shorty after. It was only released in Belgium and France in MICRO quantities.
The quality of Chet Baker's product was so varied during the last decade or more of his life that recording sessions varied markedly. For this "remixed version" of Mr. B Baker sounds a tad tired, though his chops are in fine form. The studio recording captures the trumpeter with highly sympathetic and self-effacing pianist Michel Grallier and bassist Ricardo Del Fra, both of whom engage in the leader's brand of sensitivity. There are no vocals by the trumpeter, but plenty of improvising. The interesting tune selection features a few songs played often by Baker (such as Wayne Shorter's "Dolphin Dance" and Horace Silver's "Strollin'"), but several that are not associated with him at all (Grallier's "White Blues" and his gorgeous "Father X-mas," to name a couple). There is a sadness permeating the trumpeter's sound throughout, exacerbated by the lazy, sometimes sluggish, tempos. A deep and touching beauty can be felt, marking this as one of Chet's best from the period.
Chet Baker's West Coast cool comes to the Big Apple on Chet Baker in New York. The project would be Baker's first – in a four album deal – with the Big Apple-based Riverside Records. The bicoastal artist incorporates his decidedly undernourished sound and laid-back phrasing into the styling of Al Haig (piano), Johnny Griffin (tenor sax), Paul Chambers (bass), and Philly Joe Jones (drums)…
This Is Jazz, Vol. 2 isn't an ideal overview of Chet Baker's seminal Columbia recordings, but it isn't bad, either. Many of the featured 16 songs are among Baker's very best, giving novices a good idea of the sound, style, and depth of his music, even if it doesn't provide an ideal context. Nevertheless, This Is Jazz doesn't intend to provide context, which will undoubtedly frustrate collectors and jazz purists…
Reissue with the latest remastering. Features original cover artwork. Comes with a descripton in Japanese. There may never be another Chet Baker, but on this particular night in Zagreb, poor Baker was not playing his best: His chops are weak, and his voice is strained and shallow. Still, these four duos, with longtime collaborator, guitarist Philip Catherine, have their rewards, such as the lengthy, substantial, and melodic solos by the guitarist.