Once Chet Baker arrived in California from his native Oklahoma, his career exploded. After landing gigs with Charlie Parker and Gerry Mulligan, Baker soon found himself a solo star and bandleader. Not long after that, he a... more »lso found himself whispering love songs into a microphone. Baker was not gifted with the most robust voice of the day. Indeed, listening to pure singers like Nat "King" Cole or Johnny Hartman can expose Baker's weaknesses, but what Baker did, he did well. By choosing wistful, so-young, so-in-love tunes, Baker was able to pour his heart into the material, sketching soft, romantic moods and painting himself as the broken-hearted innocent. The effect can be devastating, as Baker's voice clings to the melody, threatening to disintegrate at any moment. Many of his best tunes--"I Fall in Love Too Easily," "But Not for Me," "Let's Get Lost"--are collected here, and as such, there is no better place to begin an appreciation of Baker's unique singing. --S. Duda« less
Once Chet Baker arrived in California from his native Oklahoma, his career exploded. After landing gigs with Charlie Parker and Gerry Mulligan, Baker soon found himself a solo star and bandleader. Not long after that, he also found himself whispering love songs into a microphone. Baker was not gifted with the most robust voice of the day. Indeed, listening to pure singers like Nat "King" Cole or Johnny Hartman can expose Baker's weaknesses, but what Baker did, he did well. By choosing wistful, so-young, so-in-love tunes, Baker was able to pour his heart into the material, sketching soft, romantic moods and painting himself as the broken-hearted innocent. The effect can be devastating, as Baker's voice clings to the melody, threatening to disintegrate at any moment. Many of his best tunes--"I Fall in Love Too Easily," "But Not for Me," "Let's Get Lost"--are collected here, and as such, there is no better place to begin an appreciation of Baker's unique singing. --S. Duda
"This cd collection is incredibly evocative -- you can almost hear the ice cubes clinking in glasses in a dimly lit, smoky club. These recordings date from 1953-1956, and in spite of them being in mono, they're extremely clear and enjoyable. Baker's earliest recorded vocal ('The thrill is gone') is here, along with 19 other classic examples of his singing -- moving interpretations of some of the finest songwriting of the early 20th century, works by Gershwin, Carmichael, Rodgers & Hart, Kern, Burke & VanHeusen, Cahn. Most of the greats are represented here.Baker's vocal style is unique and unmistakable -- at times it seems like he's hanging onto the melody by his fingernails. He wraps his heart and soul around these tunes and lyrics -- going 'inside' so deeply that it's almost like there's no one else in the world but him as he takes each one and makes it his own, as few other vocalists before or since have been able to do.The accompaniment throughout is retrained and well-played -- Baker's vocals and trumpet are joined by piano, upright bass and drums -- leaving his one-of-a-kind voice in the spotlight, where it belongs. That being said, for those who have somehow managed to remain unexposed to his music, his style is never showy -- he was one of the most intimate singers I've ever heard.If you need some music for a nice romantic evening -- dinner with someone special -- or if you just want to luxuriate in some of the finest jazz vocal performances you'll ever experience -- this is a great place to turn.Interested in exploring the life and work of Chet Baker a little further? Check out Bruce Weber's outstanding film portrait LET'S GET LOST, shot just a year or so before Chet's untimely death. In the film, we're treated to some rare footage as well as some contemporary studio work (an Elvis Costello tune!), and some very candid, brutally honest recollections by Baker. It's a great piece of documentary filmmaking."
Showcase of many of Chet Baker's best early songs
Paris1929 | Paris | 09/08/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a fan of Chet Baker's for almost nine years now, particularly of his singing, in my opinion this is one of his three best albums (the other two which I highly recommend - although they are hard to find but well worth the search - are: Let's Get Lost (the Soundtrack to the film about the life of Chet Baker- RCA,AAD,89), and Chet Baker Sings Again (Timeless SJP 238). This album contain many of Chet Baker's best early songs, but does not include his best later recordings, and has omitted some early gems too, such as How Long Has This Been Going On; Forgetful (Chet has four amazing versions of this publicly available, each one quite unique); Come Rain or Shine; or Angel Eyes. For completeness this album should have also included his best vocal recording from later in his career, which are mind-bogglingly poignant and reveal a depth and reticence in Chet Baker that his early recording only hint at, specifically: Moon and Sands; For Heaven Sakes Let's Fall In Love; You're My Thrill; Autumn Leaves; Alone Together; and I Can't Get Started With You. The opportunity is still out there to compile a more comprehensive, definitive set of Chet's best songs, a collection that would fairly reflect both his early and later achievements as a searing, raw, vulnerable singer, who shows here that he is - as a point of reference - on a par with John Lennon in the directness and honesty of his delivery. While it's hard to pick favorites on an album like this, in which (in my opinion) almost all the songs are stellar, one or two do lead the pack (in this order): i) I Remember You; ii) Just Friends; iii) Long Ago and Far Away; iv) It's Always You; v) Daybreak; vi) Time After Time. ***** HIGHLY RECOMMENDED."
Everybody Digs Chet Baker
Philippe | Chicago | 04/09/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although I borrowed my title from a well known Bill Evans album, I think it reflects well on Chet. So memorable and powerful is his image as the James Dean of the 50's Jazz scene, it was worked into the movie L.A. Confidential. Although considered more for his playing ability, Chet shows the best of his soulful vocal style here, and the CD sound quality is outstanding. My father bought me this album several years ago before I permanently acquired his copy. Since then, I have turned many people onto Chet thru this very album. I enjoy jazz very much and have many Chet Baker albums, but somehow this one is always in the CD player."
Simply fantastic! I'm speechless
autumn_bliss | Porto Alegre, Brazil | 04/19/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Oh my God... I never thought this CD was THAT good.I bought it and I had in mind that it was just another Chet Baker CD with an OK selection, since I haven't heard some of the tracks. But I found out I was wrong, really wrong.Maybe he was THE West Coast Jazz face alongside Dave Brubeck, I don't know any other musician who can equally be as famous as both. I've been listening to W.C. Jazz since I was 8 years old, and now with 21 I'm still keeping the same feelings for Jazz.Chet Baker as a trumpet player may sound like any other, like Miles Davis or Marsalis. But what a difference a voice makes... his voice is like a rendezvous to paradise. I can't even count how many times I've been enchanted by his satin voice. I fell in love by the first time I heard him, a few years ago. And indeed is a soundtrack for a lazy winter day :)Beautiful romantic selection, good for die-hard fans and newbies. Trust everyone who rated 5 stars... too bad we can't rate 6..."
A "cool" romance
p dizzle | augusta, georgia, USA | 08/14/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"mr. baker produced some of his best music when working for pacific jazz in the '50s, as this album well documents. he was a master of the west coast (cool) jazz sound (taking bebop's chordal revolution, slowing it down, and staying in the middle register). he had a tenor voice that could melt butter, making ballads and love songs burn with romantic fire that never scorched. he created a mood: dark, candle-lit room, flames glowing in the fire place, wine chilled, blankets spread, but with just a hint of the blue note-- bittersweet perfection. highlights are: "but not for me," "my funny valentine," "time after time," and "my ideal." he also played an intensely quiet trumpet, sort of like miles, the founder of cool, but mellower (the best instrumental baker is his best-of album with gerry mulligan on pacific jazz). put this one on, dim the lights, and let the evening unfold..."