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  1. #1

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    I'm completely ignorant of his body of work. And he recorded so much stuff! Which album of his should I listen to first?

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  3. #2

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    My favourite:

    Chet Baker - The Touch of Your Lips

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Howzabopping
    I'm completely ignorant of his body of work. And he recorded so much stuff! Which album of his should I listen to first?
    No idea, but I am quite taken at present with the album Diane by Chet and Paul Bley.

  5. #4

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    Gosh, where to start?

    I really love the record wengr just mentioned, and pretty much anything Chet released with his European crews in the 70's/80's...the trios with Doug Raney, ANYTHING with Philip Catherine (try Chet's Choice)

    For older Chet, the record "Chet" (which features a bit of a jazz supergroup of sorts) is a great starting place.

  6. #5

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    ”Chet Baker Sings” and ”She Was Too Good To Me” are great albums.

  7. #6

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    Playboys with Art Pepper is one that I like.

  8. #7

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    One of my favorites is "Chet Baker, My Favorite Songs-the last great concert". Recorded in Europe, I believe, with a big band. It's a gorgeous sounding album and there is some fine guitar work as well.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilpy
    One of my favorites is "Chet Baker, My Favorite Songs-the last great concert". Recorded in Europe, I believe, with a big band. It's a gorgeous sounding album and there is some fine guitar work as well.
    Man, that's another "must hear" in my opinion. The "My Funny Valentine" on there I think is the sound Chet had in his head for it his entire career. That whole album, really.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by wengr
    No idea, but I am quite taken at present with the album Diane by Chet and Paul Bley.
    That's a wonderful album in my opinion.

    For those who like ballads, I also recommend the fully instrumental album "Chet" released in 1959: Chet (Chet Baker album) - Wikipedia

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by jfcx
    That's a wonderful album in my opinion.

    For those who like ballads, I also recommend the fully instrumental album "Chet" released in 1959: Chet (Chet Baker album) - Wikipedia

    Diane is an excellent lp as are most on Steeplechase
    For an all instrumental lp try "Chet Is Back" w/Bobby Jaspar, Rene Thomas, Amadeo Tomassi, Benoit Quersin and Daniel Humair, he's really at the top of his game as are the sidemen.
    Here's a sample...



  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by wintermoon
    Diane is an excellent lp as are most on Steeplechase
    For an all instrumental lp try "Chet Is Back" w/Bobby Jaspar, Rene Thomas, Amadeo Tomassi, Benoit Quersin and Daniel Humair, he's really at the top of his game as are the sidemen.
    Here's a sample...


    I have this album but it is call The Italian Sessions (reissue?). First rate with a solid EU band. For those loving jazz guitar, Rene Thomas has some very fluid solos as does Jaspar on the Sax.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by jameslovestal
    I have this album but it is call The Italian Sessions (reissue?). First rate with a solid EU band. For those loving jazz guitar, Rene Thomas has some very fluid solos as does Jaspar on the Sax.
    I have the orig lp Chet Is Back I bought in Paris on my honeymoon back in the day but later bought the Italian Sessions on cd. However the sound quality was horrible, tons of reverb etc, maybe the one you have is a different run?
    It's been re released though and the sound quality is good.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by wintermoon
    I have the orig lp Chet Is Back I bought in Paris on my honeymoon back in the day but later bought the Italian Sessions on cd. However the sound quality was horrible, tons of reverb etc, maybe the one you have is a different run?
    It's been re released though and the sound quality is good.
    I had one of those early Italian Session where the sound quality was poor, but since I loved this album so much I purchased the re-released one. Funny I also got that in Paris. I.e. anytime I go there (every few years), I always stop by a music store and to see what they have that I can't get here. They often have EU re-releases or ones from Japan (which I have found to be of very high quality).

  15. #14

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    I'm a fan of his '50s vocals, though some are not. You can figure out pretty quickly using Youtube which category you fall into. His versions of "Look for the Silver Lining" and "Time After Time" are representative.

    If you like his singing, the compilation "Let's Get Lost (The Best Of Chet Baker Sings)" on EMI / Pacific Jazz has the cream of the crop. All recorded from about '54-'56. The last album where he still has a youthful quality to his vocals is probably the CTI record "She Was Too Good to Me", from the early '70s. Go on Youtube, put on some headphones, and listen to him sing "She Was too Good to Me" and "What'll I Do"--see if he doesn't make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. The ultimate lush junkie ballad singing.

    I like some of his later singing, but it sounds like the singing of a guy who's been through hell, a more weary (and sometimes more out of tune) version of his youthful vocals. The soundtrack to the documentary "Let's Get Lost" (BMG...not to be confused with the other album I mentioned with the same title) has some of my favorite late vocals.

    His work as a member of the piano-less and all-instrumental Gerry Mulligan Quartet is part of jazz history. The bulk is on Pacific Jazz (EMI), so start there, the '53-'54 stuff. If you like it, look for the sessions on Fantasy and GNP records. He's also on a "tentette" session with Mulligan that's similar in texture to Miles and Mulligan's "Birth of the Cool" band.

    The "Last Great Concert" on Enja from 1988 (a month before his death) is pretty killer, as is a similar concert with an orchestra from 9-months earlier ("The Legacy - Vol. 1"). From 1987, his "Chet Baker in Tokyo" concert (with a piano / bass / drums quartet) is well recorded and he's in pretty good form there as well.

    For some straight instrumental bop blowing, he cut 5 LPs worth of tunes with Detroit pianist Kirk Lightsey and tenor player George Coleman (who had been in Miles' band the year before) in 1965 for Prestige (collected on "Stairway to the Stars" and two more CDs). The 1978 recording "Broken Wing" is another good place to hear his mainstream bop side. He even tackles a Wayne Shorter piece there.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Howzabopping
    I'm completely ignorant of his body of work. And he recorded so much stuff! Which album of his should I listen to first?
    Listen to ANYTHING he ever recorded---and treat it like the Holy Grail.

    And bless you for wanting to familiarize yourself with such a great player (and musical singer)...

  17. #16

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    Another great album is Chet Baker’s session work on Jim Hall’s ”Concierto”.

  18. #17

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    For more "wisdom of the crowds", see this Steve Hoffman forum post:
    Chet Baker: where to start? | Steve Hoffman Music Forums

    You'll notice certain records appearing over and over.

    As for "Listen to ANYTHING he ever recorded---and treat it like the Holy Grail." ...Well, I'll raise the issue of "opportunity cost" here.

    Why sit around listening to "Blood, Chet, and Tears" when you could be listening to Chet playing "My Funny Valentine" with the Gerry Mulligan quartet? You only go around once. Are your precious hours really best spent listening to all six of Chet's "Mariachi Brass" Herb Alpert knock-off albums?

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by wengr
    No idea, but I am quite taken at present with the album Diane by Chet and Paul Bley.

    Me too.
    I love the sound of that album. The way it was recorded/captured is breath taking.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Howzabopping
    I'm completely ignorant of his body of work. And he recorded so much stuff! Which album of his should I listen to first?
    Any ballad. When I try to familiarize myself with a tune, I always look for Chet's rendering. (and also for Dexter Gordon, Miles, and Peter Bernstein) This gives me a material for a lifetime, what I can not process because of lack of time.

    In case you would prefer proceed not tune by tune instead a complete session, I recommend the Bill Evans sessions, btw Kenny Burrell also on it. Sorry! Something went wrong!

    (nothing went wrong...)
    Last edited by Gabor; 12-26-2019 at 08:47 AM.

  21. #20

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    I have been a fan of Chet since the 60's when I first became addicted to Jazz. His lyricism, inventions, phrasing, tone and musicality are second to none. In my opinion, "Live In Tokyo" is his best album because it showcases a mature artist's vision of a creative and sadly, tumultuous life of a "poete maudit" who has reached the peak of musical expression. Anyone who considers themselves a serious musician should be familiar with his work. Highly recommended. Good playing . . . Marinero

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabor
    Any ballad. When I try to familiarize myself with a tune, I always look for Chet's rendering. (and also for Dexter Gordon, Miles, and Peter Bernstein) This gives me a material for a lifetime, what I can not process because of lack of time.

    In case you would prefer proceed not tune by tune instead a complete session, I recommend the Bill Evans sessions, btw Kenny Burrell also on it. Sorry! Something went wrong!

    (nothing went wrong...)
    I have this. I bought it because of Bill, (love Bill). I keep listening to it because of Chet.

  23. #22

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    Pretty sure all of the early recordings are good. Once he went to Europe things got suspect but were oftentimes amazing anyway.

    The movie Let's Get Lost is definitely worth watching. And the soundtrack is great. Toothless Chet is a pretty good variety of Chet.

    I feel like the band on Let's Get Lost: The Best of Chet Baker Sings is not at his level, nevertheless the performances are perfect.

    I don't know which recordings but definitely the stuff with Gerry Mulligan is worth checking out.

  24. #23

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    I really love "It Could Happen To You" with Sam Jones, Philly Joe, and Kenny Drew, what a rhythm section! Songs are great too, such classics. also a ridiculous album cover that my wife and I still laugh about.

    Chet has some of the most singable solos of any jazz musician.

  25. #24

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    chet soloing...walking that tightrope...that he walked often and best




    cheers

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by wengr
    I have this. I bought it because of Bill, (love Bill). I keep listening to it because of Chet.
    I also love this guitar player on the record what was his name... oh I got it, certain Kenny Burrell

  27. #26
    Thanks a lot for the recommendations everybody!!! And all the best for the new year!!!

    Listening to some of the YouTube videos at the moment, trying to wrap my head around Chet's style. He certainly is one of a kind!

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Howzabopping
    Thanks a lot for the recommendations everybody!!! And all the best for the new year!!!

    Listening to some of the YouTube videos at the moment, trying to wrap my head around Chet's style. He certainly is one of a kind!
    Hi, H,
    As a final remark, the premier trumpet player of the past was not Miles . . .but Chet. If you listen to any of his albums in comparison to Miles, his lyricism, inventions, pacing, creativity, musicality and TONE were superior-- in my opinion. And, this is in no way a disparaging remark about Miles--one of my favorite trumpet players before his Rock fiasco period, but rather based on the last 50 years of listening and studying their music. And, for us guitarists who are LYRICAL rather than LINEAR players, there is no better teacher of melodic playing than Chet. Good playing . . . Marinero

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    Hi, H,
    As a final remark, the premier trumpet player of the past was not Miles . . .but Chet. If you listen to any of his albums in comparison to Miles, his lyricism, inventions, pacing, creativity, musicality and TONE were superior-- in my opinion. And, this is in no way a disparaging remark about Miles--one of my favorite trumpet players before his Rock fiasco period, but rather based on the last 50 years of listening and studying their music. And, for us guitarists who are LYRICAL rather than LINEAR players, there is no better teacher of melodic playing than Chet. Good playing . . . Marinero

    Much as I dig Chet there's no way I'd call him "the premier trumpet player of the past"
    I hate comparing but Clifford Brown, Lee Morgan and Freddie Hubbard immediately spring to mind.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by wintermoon
    Much as I dig Chet there's no way I'd call him "the premier trumpet player of the past"
    I hate comparing but Clifford Brown, Lee Morgan and Freddie Hubbard immediately spring to mind.
    Hi, Wintermoon,
    Isn't that why some prefer Chateaubriand while others opt for Prime Rib? Thanks for the comments and I also love the three t's you mentioned! That's what makes Jazz so interesting. Good playing . . . Marinero

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    Hi, H,
    As a final remark, the premier trumpet player of the past was not Miles . . .but Chet. If you listen to any of his albums in comparison to Miles, his lyricism, inventions, pacing, creativity, musicality and TONE were superior-- in my opinion.
    Even this one? (I am a huge Chet fan but some of his output is questionable!)


  32. #31

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    The first solo I ever transcribed was Chet Baker's on "But Not for Me." I also did about 4 choruses of his "Summertime" both of these from early recordings. His playing was inventive but totally playable. I always found it interesting that what he played was not hard to play, it was hard to THINK to play. I couldn't imagine the lines, but when I heard him play them, I could find them on the guitar.

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    The first solo I ever transcribed was Chet Baker's on "But Not for Me." I also did about 4 choruses of his "Summertime" both of these from early recordings. His playing was inventive but totally playable. I always found it interesting that what he played was not hard to play, it was hard to THINK to play. I couldn't imagine the lines, but when I heard him play them, I could find them on the guitar.
    Totally agree. Interestingly despite of Chet and Miles are way different, the same statements can be valid about Miles too, or at least about many Miles recordings on standards. Also not only the solos worth to analyze, but the heads too.

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    Even this one? (I am a huge Chet fan but some of his output is questionable!)

    Wow, Graham,
    I couldn't make it past the first few bars! Definitely what we call in the Arts a "pot boiler"-- helps pay the bills. I remember, in a similar vein, a gig I once played as a saxophonist in the 70's to fill in for a "saxer" in a polka band that couldn't make the gig due to illness- accordion, bass, and drums and NO ONE was in tune. I tried several times to "tune-up" with the accordion and the bassist who repeatedly said it was "just fine." I was easily a 1/4 tone, if not more, out of tune. It was the only gig I walked off the stage before the end. Well, we can at least say Chet played in tune! Good playing . . . Marinero


  35. #34

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    Yes sadly Chet got talked into doing some lousy recording sessions in the 60s, he really needed the money badly by then. And at some point his teeth got busted so he was really struggling to play properly.

    But actually if you wait until he plays a solo on that track, it’s still essentially the same Chet, playing some remarkably melodic lines, under the circumstances.

  36. #35

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    This is an interesting duet with Caterina Valente, an international pop singer.


  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyV
    This is an interesting duet with Caterina Valente, an international pop singer.


    Hi, Andy,
    I never heard this recording of Chet. Thanks. However, the guitar is much too busy for my taste.
    Good playing . . . Marinero

  38. #37

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    The Mariachi Brass was a blatant pay day gig for Baker. You cannot imagine a more formulaic ripoff of the TJB, right down to the "four on the floor" Hal Blaine bass drum. Some folks were cashing in on the Herb Alpert craze of the mid-60s and offering Chet Baker some money to lend his name to the enterprise. It actually strikes me now as sort of TJB Karaoke music--haven't heard the album in about 50 years, so I'm listening with fresh ears.

    Everybody was doing pay day gigs back then. Barney Kessel "Hair." Wes Montgomery "Tequila."

  39. #38

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    He also made a great album modestly titled “The Most Important Jazz Album of 65/66”. The album is all Tadd Dameron tunes. The Miles vs Chet debate is interesting. Frankly, I enjoy Chets playing far more but Miles had the wherewithal to put together amazing bands and write and sometimes steal great tunes.

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roberoo
    He also made a great album modestly titled “The Most Important Jazz Album of 65/66”. The album is all Tadd Dameron tunes. The Miles vs Chet debate is interesting. Frankly, I enjoy Chets playing far more but Miles had the wherewithal to put together amazing bands and write and sometimes steal great tunes.
    Pretty sure that's on the Colpix label.

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patlotch
    this may not be his best record, but to make two shots with one stone*, with a guitarist. The recording is bad, but live Italia, 1962

    * french expression for kill two birds with one stone


    George Grunz (p) Karl Theodor Geier (b) Eberhard Stengel (dr)

    contrary to popular belief, it was not only good on ballads
    another Chet Baker, again with René Thomas:
    Rene totally owns PUH. He plays the hell out of it on the Bobby Jaspar Quartet album "Live at Ronnie Scott's", with Daniel Humair on drums.

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgcim
    Rene totally owns PUH. He plays the hell out of it on the Bobby Jaspar Quartet album "Live at Ronnie Scott's", with Daniel Humair on drums.
    quite true....
    "and now we would like to play a ballad, Durn Dat Dream"

  43. #42

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    For any of our readers in London, a good drummer friend of mine is playing with The Retro Chet Collective at the Bulls Head in Barnes this coming Sunday, 19th January. They will be recreating the 1975 Jim Hall album 'Concierto', recorded with Chet Baker.

    RetroChet



  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by bleakanddivine
    For any of our readers in London, a good drummer friend of mine is playing with The Retro Chet Collective at the Bulls Head in Barnes this coming Sunday, 19th January. They will be recreating the 1975 Jim Hall album 'Concierto', recorded with Chet Baker.

    RetroChet


    Glad to hear the Bulls Head is still going.

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    ...the record "Chet" (which features a bit of a jazz supergroup of sorts) is a great starting place.....
    WHAT MR BEAUMONT SAID. This is not just my favorite Chet Baker record (recorded in that 1959 peak year of straight ahead jazz, when so much of the greatest stuff was going down), but one of my top 5 favorite jazz albums ever, and that includes guitar albums, which is saying a lot for me.

  46. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgcim
    Glad to hear the Bulls Head is still going.
    Yes, it's a little different now, no longer in the old music room at the back but in a separate room across the alley where the thai restaurant used to be, but still going 7 days a week.

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by jameslovestal
    I have this album but it is call The Italian Sessions (reissue?). First rate with a solid EU band. For those loving jazz guitar, Rene Thomas has some very fluid solos as does Jaspar on the Sax.
    When I first heard Rene Thomas I was like, yeah I like that. So smooth. I still listen to my Chet Baker CD's just to hear RT
    Oh, Chet plays pretty good too

  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patlotch
    the last time I saw René Thomas, it was in concert in Paris in December 1974. My friend was taking photos, she got yelled at because it was making noise

    René Thomas died on January 3, 1975. We opened the camera, there was no film

    he had performed Billy Eckstine's I Want to Talk About You in tribute to John Coltrane (Live at Birdland). A poignant version. I have an audio cassette, but the sound is very bad

    Rene Thomas is among my favorite players. I listen to jazzradio.com "Guitar Jazz" channel every day and they always play several of RT's tracks. He wasn't a copy of Jimmy Raney, rather, he'd fully digested Raney's music and then expressed it with his own talent. You can hear Raney's influence, but Rene Thomas has his own voice as well. I always stop and smile when one of his tracks plays.

    I think he does not get the attention he deserves.

  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    Rene Thomas is among my favorite players. I listen to jazzradio.com "Guitar Jazz" channel every day and they always play several of RT's tracks. He wasn't a copy of Jimmy Raney, rather, he'd fully digested Raney's music and then expressed it with his own talent. You can hear Raney's influence, but Rene Thomas has his own voice as well. I always stop and smile when one of his tracks plays.

    I think he does not get the attention he deserves.
    Probably would have if he was from the states. Same w his pal Bobby Jaspar on tenor and flute, superb player....

  50. #49

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  51. #50

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    I have a soft spot for his jazz funk album You Can't Go Home Again, maybe not for everyone but the playing is great and Chet seems to be enjoying himself.

    Also I love the albums Chet on Riverside, he is slightly over shadowed by the stella cast of supporting players but the album is a great moody set of torch songs.