Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Chet Baker - 1992 - Grey December

Chet Baker
1992
Grey December 


01. Grey December 3:40
02. I Wish I Knew 3:59
03. Someone To Watch Over Me 3:00
04. This Is Always 3:06
05. Headline 3:07
06. Ergo 3:08
07. Bockhanal 2:58
08. Bockhanal (Alternate Take) 2:33
09. A Dandy Line 2:48
10. A Dandy Line (Alternate Take) 2:48
11. Pro Defunctus 3:26
12. Little Old Lady 2:47
13. Little Old Lady (Alternate Take) 2:00
14. Moonlight Becomes You 3:24
15. Moonlight Becomes You (Alternate Take) 2:52
16. Goodbye 3:47
17. Goodbye (Alternate Take) 3:42


Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone – Herb Geller (tracks: 5 to 17)
Baritone Saxophone – Bob Gordon (2) (tracks: 5 to 17)
Bass – Joe Mondragon (tracks: 5 to 17), Red Mitchell (tracks: 1 to 4)
Drums – Bob Neel (tracks: 1 to 4), Shelly Manne (tracks: 5 to 17)
Flute – Bud Shank (tracks: 1 to 4)
Harp – Corky Hale (tracks: 1 to 4)
Piano – Russ Freeman
Tenor Saxophone, Arranged By – Jack Montrose (tracks: 5 to 17)
Trumpet – Chet Baker

Recorded at Capitol Studios, Los Angeles
#1-4: Recorded on February 28, 1955
#5-10: Recorded on December 14, 1953
#11-17: Recorded on December 22, 1953

#1-4 previously released on the 1955 Pacific Jazz Records Sings And Plays With Bud Shank, Russ Freeman And Strings.
#5-8, 11, 12, 14, & 16 previously released on the 1954 Pacific Jazz Records 10" album Chet Baker Ensemble.
#8 previously released on the 1955 Pacific Jazz Records compilation Jazz West Coast
#15 & 17 previously released on the 1955 Pacific Jazz Records album The Trumpet Artistry Of Chet Baker.
#10 & 13 previously unreleased.


Grey December is a collection of tracks that jazz trumpeter Chet Baker recorded in 1953 and 1955, early in his career. Baker had formed his own quartet with pianist Russell Freeman in 1953. Thirteen of the 17 tracks here are from 1953, and were recorded with a septet -- Baker's quartet plus three saxophonists, including Jack Montrose, who wrote many of the tunes and all the ensemble's arrangements. The latter are complex, without much room for improvisation, but quite beautiful, and feature Baker stating the melody in his trademark simple, lyrical way with the subtlest twists and turns.

Highlights include a smoking and almost avant-garde take on Hoagy Carmichael's "Little Old Lady," which is presented here with an additional alternate take, as is Gordon Jenkins' inspired and moody "Goodbye." The first four tracks are from 1955, and feature Baker singing ballads against a backdrop of strings. Baker's vocals are, as usual, disarmingly simple, delivered in conversational phrases that stick closely to the melody.

Nice gloomy collection of Baker tunes, perhaps a little disjointed but still featuring a nice balance of vocal ballads and generally more upbeat instrumental tracks. Not really a "best of" but still a decent compilation.

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