Chet Baker’s 1978 European tour with pianist Phil Markowitz, bassist Scott Lee, and drummer Jeff Brillinger produced several recordings of varying quality. Live at Nick’s is considered a classic, whereas Two a Day, recorded only one month later, is less consistently rewarding. The tapes on which Oh You Crazy Moon is based were recorded live in Stuttgart within the same few weeks as the Two a Day concerts, and are certainly worth hearing, if not quite essential.
You would never know this set was recorded entirely in Italy with Italian jazz musicians supporting Chet Baker if you didn't read the liner notes. Indeed, it sounds as if Baker gathered with his usual West Coast gang on some sunny California afternoon...
This collection compiles, for the first time ever on a single set, all existing studio recordings of Chet Baker singing from 1953 (his earliest vocal recordings) until 1962. The music on this CD puts Chet Baker on the scene not just as a brilliant trumpeter, but also as a talented singer. These songs were a revelation at the time and won Baker new fame and a new audience, which was less familiar with jazz than with pop music. The reasons are quite clear: Chet's voice is tender and beautiful, and at the same time his phrasing always swings and surprises. Among the contents of this set are the complete original albums Chet Baker Sings and Chet Baker Sings It Could Happen to You, plus all other existing studio vocal sides within that period.
Pianist and vocalist Eliane Elias pays tribute to legendary jazz trumpeter/vocalist Chet Baker on her 2013 album I Thought About You. Featuring a selection of standards strongly associated with Baker, Elias mixes her native Brazilian bossa nova with swing, straight-ahead jazz, and even a few bluesy flourishes with much aplomb. Joining Elias are guitarists Steve Cardenas and Oscar Castro-Neves, bassist Marc Johnson, drummers Victor Lewis and Rafael Barata, and percussionist Marivaldo Dos Santos. Also adding more than a few moments of deft and thoughtful improvisation is Elias' former husband, trumpeter Randy Brecker.
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."
Chet Baker & Crew : The Forum Theatre Recordings. Sometimes known as the Prince of Cool and the James Dean of jazz, Chet Baker was one of the most popular and controversial jazz musicians. He was the primary exponent of West Coast school of cool jazz (that was in early and mid-1950s). As a trumpeter, he had an intimate and romantic style of playing music, and attracted a lot of attention beyond jazz, mainly because of his movie star looks. 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.
This release presents the complete master takes by Gerry Mulligan's original 1952-53 piano-less quartet with Chet Baker. These legendary recordings -producer Dick Bock originally started his label specifically to record the popular Gerry Mulligan Quartet- would prove enormously influential and set the groundwork for many other groups. However, Mulligan and Baker's paths would separate afterward and they would not record more than a couple of albums together. All of their recordings together from that period are on this 2-CD set.
Like a number of live Chet Baker albums released over the last ten years, this one documents a concert that took place shortly before his tragic death (having recently resumed his drug habit, he fell from a hotel room window in 1988). Unlike most of them, though, this one shows him to have still been in complete control of his musical faculties, playing not just beautifully and well, but with energy and even speed despite his deteriorating health. His singing, too, sounds uncannily like that of the quiet young sex symbol he'd been in the 1950s, before age and heroin ravaged his face and emptied his eyes.