This album is somewhat unique in that it was recorded just a few days after his pianist Dick Twardzik died of a heroin overdose while in Paris. According to Chet, this event lead to him "seeing what heroin was all about" and it became an instant and lifelong companion for him. Because Twardzik was not able to play, they had to come up with some basic "standards" that Chet normally didn't play that often, so that there new sit-in pianist could keep up. In this case, you here some really wonderful versions of songs that Chet rarely ever played, like Summertime, Tenderly, Autumn in New York, etc, which are all marvelous.
A compilation of two Pacific Jazz LPs (# 9 and 15), recorded in 1953 and 1954. The earlier session features Chet with Jack Montrose (tenor sax) Herb Geller (alto sax) and Bob Gordon (baritone sax), and every tune on the session is a knockout. Especially wonderful are "Bockhanal" (in 2 takes) and "Headline"; both swing like crazy. The later session has Montrose again with Bill Holman (tenor sax) Bob Brookmeyer (trombone) and Bud Shank (baritone sax). Here the standout tracks are "The half dozens," "Stella by starlight," and "Dot's groovy."
Burnin' At Backstreet was recorded at the Backstreet Club in New haven Connecticut on February 19, 1980. Baker and Frank appear in a quartet format with bassist Michael Formanek and pianist Drew Salperto. The repertoire is wholly Baker. Baker loved the Miles Davis songbook and his performances of Davis originals were always more rounded and open than Davis.' "Tune Up," the modal "Milestones" and craggy "Four" share the stage with another Baker favorite, Dizzy Gillespie's "Blue 'n Boogie." Baker is in good solo form on these up tempo numbers. His tone is fat and confident, even when presented tartly, like the opening of "Milestones"…
This essential four-LP box set features trumpeter Chet Baker leading his own group during the 1953-1956 period (shortly after the breakup of the Gerry Mulligan Quartet) with pianist Russ Freeman, either Bob Whitlock, Carson Smith, Joe Mondragon, Jimmy Bond, or Leroy Vinnegar on bass, and Bobby White, Larry Bunker, Shelly Manne, Bob Neel, Peter Littman, or Lawrence Marable on drums. Baker is heard at his coolest (mostly before he became influenced by Miles Davis); some of the later selections also feature his first recorded vocals. Because the Mosaic box sets are limited editions, they should be acquired as soon as possible.
Pianist Duke Jordan's presence adds some punch and spark to this quartet session, which is further helped along by bassist Niels Henning-Orsted Pedersen and selections that are suited for Baker's increasingly mellow and wavering playing. … outstanding among [Chet’s] later recordings….This is a record to give a listener fresh heart…one feels there cannot be much wrong with jazz while it is producing records like this .
Very rare Marshmallow original album by Chet Baker. Recorded at "New Morning Club", Paris, France, November 24, 1983. American jazz trumpeter and singer Chet Baker became a star on the strength of such songs as "My Funny Valentine" before his career was derailed by drug use. Jazz trumpeter and singer Chet Baker was born in Yale, Oklahoma, in 1929. He rose to stardom in the 1950s with Gerry Mulligan's quartet and then as a bandleader, but encountered personal and professional difficulties after developing a heroin addiction. In 1988 Baker was in the midst of a late-career resurgence when he fell from an Amsterdam hotel window to his death.
Chet Baker (trumpet) was arguably at the peak of his prowess when captured in a quartet setting at the Masonic Temple in Ann Arbor, MI, May 9, 1954. He's joined by Russ Freeman (piano), Carson Smith (bass) and Bob Neel (drums), all of whom provide ample assistance without ever obscuring their leader's laid-back and refined style. Baker's sublime sounds also garnered notice from critics, who had placed him atop polls in both Metronome and Down Beat magazines the previous year.
Chet Baker Quartet Featuring Russ Freeman (1998) is a perfect studio companion to the Mosaic Records set Complete Pacific Jazz Live Recordings of Chet Baker With Russ Freeman (1988). As was the custom for jazz platters of the time, both Baker and Freeman are joined by a different combo on each date. The luminaries include Bobby Whitlock (bass), Joe Mondragon (bass), Bobby White (bass), Larry Bunker (drums) and Shelly Manne (drums) from sessions held circa July and October of 1953.
If proof is ever needed that there are too many Chet Baker albums around, this album can serve as evidence. Baker is caught on an off day; his playing during the first chorus of the opening "Long Ago And Far Away" is so flawed that one wonders why the musicians did not stop and try a second version.