Although Chet Baker's recordings from late in his life varied dramatically in quality, this series of studio sessions is a high point in his career. After having his trumpet stolen, he plays beautifully with a borrowed flügelhorn throughout most of these songs with a powerful tone, especially on "Baby Breeze" and Hal Galper's intense "This Is the Thing." Baker delivers some strong vocals on the session led by pianist Bobby Scott, though Scott's huge hit "A Taste of Honey" is marred somewhat by his odd honky tonk piano in the background.
During the Han Dynasty the theory of the Five Elements became inseparably intertwined with the Yin Yang theory of Changes, also known as the Yi Ching (I-Ching). According to the “Book of Changes: Cycle of Elemental Music”, Earth, Metal, Wood, Fire and Water correspond with spleen, lung, liver, heart and kidney respectively.
"It took more than one man to change my name to Shanghai Lily," purrs Marlene Dietrich in Shanghai Express. She certainly has her well-manicured hands full with more men than she can count in this exotic far-Eastern adventure. Among her fellow passengers on the Shanghai Express are her disillusioned former fiance, stalwart British medical corps officer Clive Brook; overfervent missionary Lawrence Grant; dope smuggler Gustav von Seyffertitz; and mysterious Eurasian businessman Warner Oland. As the train chugs through the more treacherous passages of war-torn China, Oland reveals himself as the leader of a rebel group, who plans to hold the passengers hostage to secure the release of his imprisoned followers. In Boule de Suif fashion, Dietrich, who is a notorious "Chinese coaster" but who has remained sexually aloof throughout the trip, gives herself to Oland to save the life of Brook, the man she truly loves.