Search - Chet Baker :: Jazz Profile

Jazz Profile
Chet Baker
Jazz Profile
Genres: Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (11) - Disc #1

Out of print in the U.S.! Import pressing of this compilation by the famed trumpeter. 11 tracks including 'That Old Feeling', 'The Route', 'But Not For Me' and more. Blue Note.


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CD Details

All Artists: Chet Baker
Title: Jazz Profile
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Blue Note Records
Release Date: 4/1/1997
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Style: Cool Jazz
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 724385490224


Album Description
Out of print in the U.S.! Import pressing of this compilation by the famed trumpeter. 11 tracks including 'That Old Feeling', 'The Route', 'But Not For Me' and more. Blue Note.

CD Reviews

All the Feelings in the World
Giordano Bruno | Wherever I am, I am. | 05/11/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"First he swings `n then he be-bops" to paraphrase the old childrens'song. Chet Baker could both swing and bop, as Charlie Parker recognized, and there's never been a jazz trumpeter with a surer sense of melody. Though he never blazed at the top of his horn's register like Dizzie, or bleated plaintively like Miles, he had unmatched tonal color in the mid and low registers of his two horns, the trumpet and the flugelhorn. This Jazz Profile compendium, available for a very attractive price, showcases Chet's early albums, from 1953 to 1956, including sessions with luminaries of jazz such as Bob Brookmeyer, Bud Shank, Shelly Manne, Art Pepper, and Bobby Timmons. The best cuts, however, feature the tasteful ensemble sharing of less famous sidemen such as Herb Geller, Russ Freeman, Phil Urso, and Jimmy Bond. Only the vocal tracks are limited to Baker with piano, bass, and drums, the standard ensemble of Baker's later come-back years.

My favorite tracks are the last two, with tenor sax Phil Urso and pianist Bobby Timmons, taken from the album Chet Baker and Crew, which is also available. There's nothing "mailed in" about these tracks; every note is targeted. Baker and Urso don't play their choruses in unison in the standard bebop style. Instead they play in counterpoint, as harmonically "intelligent" as the fa-burden of an early Renaissance mass. Like the great pre-classical composers Johannes Ockghem and Alessandro Scarlatti, Baker's solos sound completely improvised and wandering...until you realize how tightly constructed they are. Baker also reminds me of Scarlatti in the use he makes of his piano and bass, as if he were playing an "aria" with tastefully sparse continuo. Baker was not a self-taught musician, by the way, contrary to all myths. His father was a professional guitarist, he played for several years in the 298th Army Band, and he studied theory and harmony at El Camino College in LA.

Baker's singing is another matter entirely. His thin, sweet voice is innocent of all vocal training, yet he uses it exactly as he should, to sing heart-stabbing songs of disappointed love, with fabulously subtle phrasing and with perfect intonation - never scooping, never quivering. My "informed" thought is, what a heckuva counter-tenor he could have been! The juxtaposition of his poignant vocals and his swinging instrumentals is a hallmark of Baker's appeal.

I heard Baker live twice, in San Francisco in the late fifties, and in Norway in the early eighties. I remember the latter session very intensely; the young European pianist and bassist were outstanding in their communication with the nearly catatonic genius of jazz, who played sitting somberly beside the piano. I've never seen a more ravaged face. The self-destructive addictions to heroin and cocaine were no myth. It was so bad that in 1956 he lost all his teeth and had to re-learn to play with dentures. There's a story that he was severely beaten up in SF; it may be true, but the teeth were already rotten. He died in Amsterdam in 1988, possibly a suicide, found on the sidewalk below the window of his second-story hotel room.

Chet Baker was the most expressive jazzman of all time. He didn't need virtuosity, though he had it, beacuse he was all emotion. This CD is an excellent intoduction to his special character for new listeners, and a superb selection of his early work for seasoned fans.