Reissue of Chet Baker Quintette - Chet Baker Quintette, released in 1963 on Crown Records. Chet Baker was a primary exponent of the West Coast school of cool jazz in the early and mid-'50s. As a trumpeter, he had a generally restrained, intimate playing style and he attracted attention beyond jazz for his photogenic looks and singing. Baker earned much attention and critical praise through the 1950s, particularly for albums featuring his vocals (Chet Baker Sings, It Could Happen to You). Jazz historian Dave Gelly described the promise of Baker's early career as "James Dean, Sinatra, and Bix, rolled into one." His well-publicized drug habit also drove his notoriety and fame; Baker was in and out of jail frequently before enjoying a career resurgence in the late 1970s and '80s.
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.
This is a very under-rated album. The complaints are that the strings are too syrupy, yet one of Chet's most critically successful albums was Chet With Strings. This album is just as good as that one or Grey December, which also has strings. In fact, while all the songs are very good, it's worth buying just for Sammy Cahn's "I Should Care", Chet playing the BEST version of that song I have ever heard, with a GREAT string arrangement!! If you like Chet, even casually, you can't go wrong with this charming album.
Chet Baker Ensemble collects all the tracks recorded by trumpeter Chet Baker and his group on a session for Pacific Jazz in late December of 1953. Having been released piecemeal on various albums over the years, this represents the first complete gathering of this material. Recorded less than two months before the legendary Chet Baker Sings sessions, these tracks showcase the young Baker as a hardcore jazz trumpeter before the public became overwhelmingly infatuated with his unique vocal abilities.
Two absolutely superb piano players from different musical worlds: Bruno Canino, as a representative of art music, and Enrico Pieranunzi, as a representative of jazz. Two Americas, the Northern one and the Southern one, and some of the greatest composers from both. To what extent is music beautifully gifted with making a universal language flow out, beyond genres, places, artists, composers, performers? Listening to Americas one is again led to realize that apparent contrasts are actually bonds consisting of irresistible mutual attractions, common points, osmotic relations. The Americas project has been conceived for two pianos intertwining like cultures and musical worlds do. Here, between Canino and Pieranunzi, it matters little who is playing “what” and “when”.
A day after he finished The Heart of the Ballad, Chet teams again with Pieranunzi and his trio. This was to be Chet's last studio recording, and it is a nice way to remember Chet. When he was in good shape, and he surrounded himself with excellent sidemen (both the case here), he was as capable of creating magic. A good example of this is the title cut. Chet's never really played it much after his famous 1957 vocal and instrumental recording of the tune. He revives it one last time and gives one of the best vocal performances of his last years.