Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Chet Baker - 2007 - Indian Summer

Chet Baker
Indian Summer (The Complete 1955 Concerts in Holland)

01. Introduction By Chet Baker 1:16
02. Tommyhawk 6:10
03. Indian Summer 7:54
04. I'm Glad There Is You 5:39
05. But Not For Me 6:21
06. My Funny Valentine [Incomplete] 1:19
07. Tommyhawk 6:00
08. Indian Summer 8:12
09. Someone To Watch Over Me 5:50
10. Imagination 3:27
11. C. T. A. 3:14
12. Exitus / Closing Announcement By Chet Baker 1:05

Bass – Jimmy Bond
Drums – Peter Littman
Piano – Dick Twardzik
Trumpet, Vocals – Chet Baker

Tracks 1-6: Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Saturday, September 17, 1955
Tracks 7-12: Kurhaus, Scheveningen, Sunday, September 18, 1955

A long-awaited release because it's one of the very few documents of Baker's 1955 quartet with Dick Twardzik. The Scheveningen concert had been available before in extremely poor sound quality as The Lost Holland Concert, but now the Dutch Jazz Archive has unearthed much better quality air check tapes made from the original broadcasts on Dutch radio, paired them with the previously unissued tapes from the Amsterdam concert on the previous day, and released them on CD, so that these historic documents are now for the first time available in a sound quality that you can actually hear what the musicians were playing.

It is, however, not exactly a revelation. A month before his his first session for Barclay in Paris, it's obvious that the next big step in Baker's musical development was still ahead of him. Throughout these recordings, he appears as a talented, spirited trumpeter, but at the time it seems that he had only just discovered hardbop and was mostly still caught up in the lightweight west coast jazz. It is clear that he was at the beginning of a development when these concerts were cut, but technically, they're not very far from his early Pacific Jazz records. The most impressive musician here is really pianist Dick Twardzik, and it's understandable why his death from a heroin overdose barely a month later is considered such a loss.

Unfortunately, the title of this CD is not to be taken very literally: these are the complete recordings that exist from the Holland concerts, they are not the complete concerts. This is painfully obvious in what starts as a beautiful rendering of "My Funny Valentine", which is cut short after only 80 seconds when the tape reel ran out at that point.

It's a showcase of early Chet and certainly a must-have for Chetophiles, it's also vastly preferable to The Lost Holland Concert because of its significantly better (though by no means impeccable) sound, but it's not really an essential item in Baker's discography.

Chet Baker - 2007 - In Paris: The Complete 1955-1956 Barclay Sessions

Chet Baker
In Paris: The Complete 1955-1956 Barclay Sessions

October 11, 1955
101 Rondette 2:08
102 Mid-Forte 3:06
103 Sad Walk 4:13
104 Re-Search 4:59
105 Just Duo 4:11

October 14, 1955
201 Piece Caprice 5:10
202 Pomp 4:40
203 The Girl from Greenland 5:14
204 Brash 5:54

October 24, 1955
301 I'll Remember April 5:52
302 There's a Small Hotel 3:45
303 These Foolish Things 4:42
304 Lover Man 4:51
305 Autumn in New York 7:05
306 Summertime 4:13
307 You Go to My Head 5:51
308 Tenderly 6:38

October 25, 1955
401 Chet [complete take] 3:24
402 Chet [false start] 0:14
403 Chet [complete take] 3:16
404 Chet [complete take] 3:10
405 Chet [master take] 3:21
406 Dinah [complete take] 3:14
407 Dinah [complete take] 3:07
408 Dinah [master take] 3:01
409 Vline 3:02
410 In Memory of Dick [complete take] 3:13
411 In Memory of Dick [false start] 0:34
412 In Memory of Dick [complete take] 3:08
413 In Memory of Dick [false start] 0:05
414 In Memory of Dick [false start] 0:05
415 In Memory of Dick [complete take] 3:03

November 28, 1955
501 Alone Together [complete take] 3:46
502 Alone Together [complete take] 3:47
503 Alone Together [master take] 4:22
504 Exitus [complete take] 7:18
505 Exitus [incomplete take] 1:58
506 Exitus [master take] 8:45
507 Once in a While [false start] 0:09
508 Once in a While [false start] 0:09
509 Once in a While [master take] 5:46
510 All the Things You Are [complete take] 7:18
511 All the Things You Are [complete take] 6:03
512 Everything Happens to Me [false start] 0:21
513 Everything Happens to Me [complete take] 3:38

December 26, 1955
601 Chick-Eta [false start] 0:43
602 Chick-Eta [complete take] 5:14
603 Chick-Eta [false start] 0:32
604 Chick-Eta [false start] 0:05
605 Chick-Eta [false start] 0:04
606 Chick-Eta [master take] 6:06
607 How About You? [false start] 0:05
608 How About You? [false start] 0:11
609 How About You? [complete take] 4:30
610 How About You? [false start] 0:22
611 How About You? [false start] 0:21
612 How About You? [false start] 0:25
613 How About You? [master take] 4:33
614 Exitus [complete take] 4:07
615 Exitus [complete take] 4:39
616 Exitus [complete take] 4:28
617 Exitus [complete take] 4:51
618 Exitus [complete take] 5:15
619 Dear Old Stockholm [complete take] 7:50

February 10, 1956
701 Speak Low [complete take] 4:39
702 Anticipated Blues [incomplete take] 2:17
703 Anticipated Blues [false start] 0:04
704 Anticipated Blues [false start] 0:06
705 Anticipated Blues [false start] 0:21
706 Anticipated Blues [complete take] 2:53
707 Anticipated Blues [false start] 0:05
708 Anticipated Blues [complete take] 2:42
709 Anticipated Blues [master take] 2:56
710 Tasty Pudding [incomplete take] 2:29
711 Tasty Pudding [incomplete take] 2:28
712 Cheryl [incomplete take] 2:06
713 Cheryl [incomplete take] 2:06
714 Cheryl [false start] 0:05
715 Cheryl [false start] 0:08
716 Cheryl [incomplete take] 3:16
717 Cheryl [false start] 0:04
718 Cheryl [false start] 0:27
719 Cheryl [complete take] 3:22
720 Tasty Pudding [incomplete take] 2:15
721 Tasty Pudding [complete take] 6:21
722 Tasty Pudding [incomplete take] 4:17
723 Tasty Pudding [master take] 4:44

March 15, 1956
801 Mythe 3:00
802 Not Too Slow 2:54
803 In a Little Provincial Town 3:00
804 Vline 2:53

The Chet Baker Quintet
Chet Baker, trumpet
 Robert "Bobby" Jaspar (disc 6)
 Jean-Louis Chautemps (disc 7), tenor saxophone
Maurice Vander (disc 6)
Franc¸ois "Francy" Boland (disc 7), piano
Benoit Quersin (disc 6)
 Edgar "Eddie" de Haas (disc 7), double bass
Jean-Louis Viale (disc 6)
Charles Saudrais (disc 7), drums)

The Chet Baker Orchestra
Chet Baker, trumpet
 Bernard "Benny" Vasseur, trombone
Jean "Poppy" Aldegon (disc 4)
Andre´ "Teddy" Ameline (disc 8), alto saxophone
Armand Migiani, tenor saxophone
William Boucaya, baritone saxophone
Rene´ Urtreger (disc 4)
Francy Boland (disc 8), piano
James "Jimmy" Bond (disc 4)
Benoit Quersin (disc 8), double bass
Nils-Bertil "Bert" Dahlander (disc 4)
Pierre Lemarchand, drums (disc 8)
Pierre Michelot, conductor) (discs 4 & 8)

Chet Baker Quartet
Chet Baker, trumpet
Richard "Dick" Twardzik, piano, celesta
Jimmy Bond, double bass
Peter Littman, drums

Recorded in the Pathe-Magellan Studio, Paris, France, on
October 11, 1955 (disc 1)
October 14, 1955 (disc 2)
October 24, 1955 (disc 3)
October 25, 1955 (disc 4)
November 28, 1955 (disc 5)
December 26, 1955 (disc 6)
February 10, 1956 (disc 7)
March 15, 1956 (disc 8).

Chet Baker's sessions in Paris 1955-56, originally released on Chet Baker Quartet Vol. 1, Chet Baker Quartet Vol. 2, Chet Baker and His Quintet with Bobby Jaspar and Mythe are deservedly regarded among his best material from the 1950s, because they show for the first time a maturity and technical prowess much superior to that on the early 1950s Pacific Jazz sessions.

In 1986, Fresh Sound released the "complete" Barclay recordings on five vinyl discs; two years later, Barclay released the "complete" Barclay recordings on four compact discs [1][2][3][4], adding one CD full of additional alternate takes to the Fresh Sound package. All of these have been out of print for a while now, even though reissues of Chet Baker Quartet Vol. 1 and Chet Baker Quartet Vol. 2 have been available on mid-price CDs since 2003, and Chet Baker and His Quintet with Bobby Jaspar was finally reissued in 2010.

Almost ten years after its first "complete" set, Barclay now has another go at the Barclay sessions with an even more "complete" set, which is released on no fewer than eight compact discs. This sounds quite promising at first, but unfortunately, part of the trick is really in the packaging, both in a good way and in a bad way.

Let me start with the bad way: First of all, no entirely new recordings have been discovered. The 15 "previously unreleased" tracks on this release are simply additional alternate takes of previously available tracks, and about half of them are not even full takes. Second, the CDs are organised strictly on a by-session basis, meaning that the two sessions with Dick Twardzik, recorded on October 11 and 14 respectively, both of which would fit generously onto one CD, are split up on two CDs, each of which ends up being under 20 minutes in length.

The remastering of the tracks is solid, better than on the 1988 CDs, but there is not a lot of room for improvement considering the limitations of the original mono sources. Which is where the packaging comes in again, in the good way: the added value of this set is really how exquisitely it's packaged. The richly illustrated 84-page booklet does not only sport numerous, wonderfully reproduced photographs, some of which are nothing other than stunning documents of jazz photography, it also contains lengthy essays by Francis Marmande and Alain Tercinet (in English and French), an interview with composer Bob Zieff, and Baker's entire 1955/56 tour schedule. Of course there are also reproductions of the original album covers, concert programs and other paraphernalia, all on 12" glossy paper. 

Each of the cardboard sleeves containing the CDs lists the precise recording and initial release data, including information on tracks that were recorded, but lost. Don't slip those CDs out too fast, by the way -- you may fail to notice that each of them is in fact housed in an additional inner sleeve that has extra liner notes about the respective recording session on it. 

This box set is aimed directly at devoted Chetophiles, who will no doubt appreciate the separated and meticulously documented sessions, the full range of alternate takes and above all, the wonderful booklet. Everybody else may possibly find the €75 price tag a bit too steep and the slew of alternate takes perhaps somewhat unnecessary, especially as the most important recordings from this box are available on three CDs for well under €10 each.

It's still a beautiful collection of some top-notch performances though.

Chet Baker - 2007 - Chet Baker & Crew Featuring Phil Urso & Bobby Timmons - At The Forum Theatre

Chet Baker
Chet Baker & Crew Featuring Phil Urso & Bobby Timmons 
At The Forum Theatre

101. Tabu
102. Halema
103. To Mickey's Memory
104. Down
105. I Can't Get Started
106. Revelation
107. Lucius Lou
108. Worryin' The Life Out Of Me
109. Something For Liza
110. Medium Rock
111. Pawnee Junction

201. Extra Mild
202. Chippyin'
203. It's Only A Paper Moon
204. Music To Dance By
205. Autumn In New York
206. A Night On Bop Mountain
207. Slightly Above Moderate
208. Jumpin' Off A Clef
209. Line For Lyons
210. Mickey's Memory (Alternate Take)

Bass – Jimmy Bond
Drums – Peter Littman
Piano – Bobby Timmons
Tenor Saxophone – Phil Urso
Timpani [Chromatic Tympani] – Bill Loughborough (tracks: 1-3, 1-11, 2-6, 2-10)
Trumpet – Chet Baker

Recorded Forum Theatre, Los Angeles, July 24, 25 & 31, 1956.

This is not just another Chet Baker album. These two CDs contain, for the first time in one set, all the recordings he made with his quintetthe crewunder Dick Bocks direction at the Los Angeles Forum Theatre in July 1956. On these sessions Chet plays throughout with even greater warmth, virility and maturity of conception than on previous recordings, but with the lyricism that was his forte intact. Ursos earthy, strongly swinging tenor, out of the brothers school, also raises the ante. In the rhythm section Bobby Timmons, who adds a powerful solo voice on piano, is buoyantly funky, while Jimmy Bond and Peter Littman complete a grooving, effectively driving unit behind the soloists.

I own over 100 Chet Baker CD's, and this CD never gets old, and it is great fun to listen to. Some of the songs on this CD are some of my favorite Chet Baker songs. I would rate "Extra Mild" and "Night on Bop Mountain" as two of my all time favorite top 5-10 Chet Baker tunes. If you are a Chet Baker fan and haven't heard these two, you have no idea of what you are missing. "Night on Bop Mountain" is a take-off on Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain," a tune where Bill Loughbrough, who happened to leave a review above, takes center stage. The composer is not listed, although Bill Loughbrough is known to have written or co-written many of the original tunes on the album. I have listened to "Extra Mild" 10 times in a row, and never tire of that really cool and catchy tune, nor have I ever tired of this CD, and is one of my most played Chet Baker CD's.

Chet Baker - 2006 - The Lost Holland Concert - September 18, 1955

Chet Baker Quartet Featuring Dick Twardzik 
The Lost Holland Concert - September 18, 1955

Kurhaus, Scheveningen, Holland, September 18, 1955
01. Introduction By Chet Baker Into Tommyhawk 6:35
02. Indian Summer 8:22
03. Someone To Watch Over Me 5:41
04. Imagination 3:14
05. C.T.A. Into Exitus 5:30
Mainz, Germany, September 21, 1955
06. Walkin' 7:43
07. Indian Summer 8:03
08. All The Things You Are 9:07
Zurich, Switzerland, September 24, 1955
09. Happy Little Sunbeam 6:05
10. Moonlight In Vermont 4:36

Bass – Jimmy Bond
Drums – Peter Littman
Piano – Dick Twardzik
Trumpet – Chet Baker, Rolfe Schnoebiegel (tracks: 8)
Vocals – Chet Baker (tracks: 3)

In September, 1955, Chet Baker took his new quartet to Europe for a tour. His pianist Richard "Dick" Twardzik was a promising 24-year-old but a heroin addict and he died from an overdose on October 21 of that year. The number of his recordings are few, so any "new" concert performances are very valuable. The music on Lost Holland Concert September 18 1955 was all previously unissued and features the Chet Baker Quartet during concerts performed September 18, 21, and 24. While bassist Jimmy Bond and drummer Peter Littman are fine in support, the main focus is on Baker and Twardzik. Baker verbally introduces the songs and expresses his admiration for Miles Davis but at this point in time he had not come under Davis' influence yet and still sounds both youthful and original, playing in his early prime. Twardzik, while influenced by Bud Powell and a bit reminiscent in spots of his predecessor Russ Freeman, shows loads of potential that would never be realized. On "All the Things You Are," the quartet is joined by guest trumpeter Rolfe Schnoebiegel who fits in well and adds a bit of excitement. Dick Twardzik's death kept the quartet's tour from being an expected triumph, though Baker would continue in Europe for a few more months. While the recording quality of this CD is far from impeccable (and the closing "Moonlight in Vermont" is incomplete), it is quite listenable, with the historic value of the music making this a recommended set to collectors of Chet Baker and the short-lived Dick Twardzik.

Chet Baker - 2006 - Köln Concert Featuring Dick Twardzik

Chet Baker Quartet 
Köln Concert Featuring Dick Twardzik

01. Announcement By Gigi Campi And Chet Baker 2:49
02. Exitus 7:26
03. Announcement By Chet Baker 0:30
04. Tommyhawk 7:10
05. Imagination 3:26
06. Chet Baker Presents Dick Twardzik's Solo Feature 0:52
07. Yellow Tango 8:40
08. Someone To Watch Over Me 5:28
09. C.T.A. 9:27
10. My Funny Valentine 6:06
11. Announcement: Campi Introduces Hans Koller And Willi Sanner 0:36
12. Cool Blues 10:00
13. I'll Remember April 15:13
14. Exitus (Theme) / Closing Words By Chet Baker 0:57

Baritone Saxophone – Willi Sanner (tracks: 12, 13)
Bass – Jimmy Bond
Drums – Peter Littman
Piano – Dick Twardzik
Tenor Saxophone – Hans Koller (tracks: 12, 13)
Trumpet, Vocals – Chet Baker

Recorded live at the Köln Börsensaal, Germany, October 9, 1955.

16 page booklet including an interview with Chet Baker by Gudrun Endress for the Jazz Podium magazine, 1978.

Unreleased for half a century -- and worth the wait. Documenting a complete West German live appearance from October 9, 1955 (including an announcement from promoter Gigi Campi and some impromptu dialogue from Chet Baker himself), The Köln Concert Featuring Dick Twardzik captures a harder, more soulful dimension of the trumpeter's work absent from his concurrent studio dates. There's real heat simmering below Baker's icy-cool tones, and he invests familiar compositions like "Imagination" and "I'll Remember April" with new verve. No less notable is his support staff, featuring pianist Richard Twardzik in one of his final performances before his fatal heroin overdose just 12 days later. His contributions here are shapely and supple, each note a poignant reminder of the immense talent he squandered away.

This is an entire live show recorded on the Chet Baker Quartet's 1955 tour of Europe. The show is recorded in decent sound for 1955. Obviosly, it's in mono. The horns, piano and drums are well heard. The bass is maybe a bit muddy. Probably a little better sound than Bird at the Hi-Hat. Maybe a little lower fidelity than the Konitz with G. Mulligan Quartet, (Pacific-Blue Note), disc. If you never heard of Dick Twardzik, figure that Bird performed with Twardzik and dug his playing. (That's a testimonial likely to stir me to want to listen). Chet Baker announces Yellow Tango, (one of Twardzik's compositions) as a feature for Twardzik and rhythm section, Pete Littman (d) and 007 (b). The quartet also has guest saxophonists, one of them being Hans Koller, joining the quartet for the last few tracks. There is a little bit of tape garble/distortion/drop out during a few seconds of the sax solo during one of those ensemble pieces. The liner notes are rather critical of the performance. I personally believe, Twardzik's efforts are nascent avante garde and the fans and critics wern't quite ready in 1955. (Be reminded Cecil Taylor's, first album was in 1956.)

All that being said, this cd presents a decent performance by a highly talented working jazz group near their collective peak in respectable sound. Sadly, the young pianist with the quartet, Dick Twardzik, wasn't long for this earth. He died October 21 of that year. This cd presents a welcome addition to the Twardzik trio material previously available on the Pacific label and the Chet in Paris Vol. 1 material featuring Twardzik previously available on the Barclay label.

Chet Baker - 2004 - The Original Chet Baker & Gerry Mulligan Quartet - Complete Recordings

Chet Baker
The Original Chet Baker & Gerry Mulligan Quartet - Complete Recordings

101. Bernie's Tune 2:50
102. Lullaby Of The Leaves 3:13
103. Uter Chaos #1 0:33
104. Line for Lyons 2:32
105. Carioca 2:25
106. My Funny Valentine 2:55
107. Bark for Barksdale 3:13
108. Uter Chaos #2 0:20
109. Nights at the Turntable 2:52
110. Frenesi 3:08
111. Aren't You Glad You're You 2:50
112. Walkin' Shoes 3:10
113. Soft Shoe 2:37
114. Freeway 2:43
115. Limelight 2:45
116. The Lady is a Tramp 3:11
117. Turnstile 2:55
118. Moonlight In Vermont 4:05
119. Get Happy 2:31
120. S' Wonderful 3:33
121. Godchild 2:49
122. Dinah 2:55
123. She Didn't Say Yes She Didn't Say No 2:32

201. Godchild 3:55
202. Poinciana 3:50
203. Aren't You Glad You're You 3:57
204. Get Happy 5:50
205. Cherry 2:55
206. Carson City Stage 2:30
207. Makin' Whoopee 3:26
208. Motel
209. My Old Flame 3:11
210. All The Things You Are 5:05
211. Love Me Or Leave Me 2:54
212. Jeru 2:29
213. Swing House 2:54
214. Utter Chaos #2 0:30
215. Love Me Or Leave Me 2:47
216. Swing House 2:55

301. I May Be Wrong 2:50
302. I'm Beginning To See The Light 3:34
303. The Nearness Of You 2:50
304. Tea For Two 2:46
305. Darn That Dream 3:48
306. Varsity Drag 2:23
307. Speak Low 2:07
308. Half Nelson 3:01
309. Lady Bird 4:26
310. Love Me Or Leave Me 3:14
311. Swing House 3:24
312. Five Brothers 2:58
313. I Can't Get Started 4:01
314. My Funny Valentine 5:15
315. Ide's Side 4:21
316. Fun House 3:27
317. I May Be Wrong 2:57
318. I'm Begging To See The Light 3:06
319. Darn That Dream 3:20

401. Too Marvelous For Words 3:43
402. Lover Man 3:07
403. I'll Remember April 4:15
404. These Foolish Things 3:28
405. All The Things You Are 3:55
406. Bernie's Tune 3:31
407. Almost Like Being in Love 2:56
408. Sextet 2:59
409. Broadway 2:54
410. I Can't Believe You Are In Love With Me 3:06
411. Lady Be Good 2:30
412. Lady Be Good 1:53
413. A Ballad 2:52
414. Westwood Walk 2:34
415. Walkin' Shoes 3:36
416. Rocker 2:26
417. Takin' A Chance On Love 2:49
418. Flash 3:06
419. Simbah 3:00
420. Ontet 3:13

Alto Saxophone – Bud Shank (tracks: 4-13 to 4-20)
Alto Saxophone – Lee Konitz (tracks: 4-1 to 4-12)
Baritone Saxophone – Don Davidson (tracks: 4-13 to 4-20)
Baritone Saxophone – Gerry Mulligan
Bass – Bobby Whitlock (tracks: 1-1 to 1-3, 1-9 to 1-14)
Bass – Carson Smith (tracks: 1-4 to 1-8, 1-15 to 1-18, 2-1 to 2-4, 3-1 to 4-9)
Bass – Joe Mondragon (tracks: 1-22 to 1-23, 4-10 to 4-12)
Bass – Red Mitchell (tracks: 1-19 to 1-21)
Drums – Chico Hamilton (tracks: 1-1 to 2-4, 4-13 to 4-16)
Drums – Larry Bunker (tracks: 2-5 to 2-16, 3-1 to 4-12, 4-14, 4-17 to 4-20)
Flugelhorn – John Graas (tracks: 4-13 to 4-20)
Piano – Jimmy Rowles (tracks: 1-22 to 1-23)
Trumpet – Chet Baker (tracks: 1-1 to 1-18, 1-22 to 1-23, 2-1 to 2-16, 3-1 to 3-19)
Trumpet – Pete Candoli (tracks: 4-13 to 4-20)
Tuba – Ray Siegel (tracks: 4-13 to 4-20)
Valve Trombone – Bob Enevoldsen (tracks: 4-13 to 4-20)

#1-1 to 1-3: Recorded At Phil Tureksty' House, Loa Angeles, August 16, 1952.
#1-4 to 1-8: Recorded At Black Hawk Club, San Francisco, September 1952.
#1-9 to 1-14: Recorded At Gold Star Studios, Los Angeles, October 15-16, 1952
#1-15 to 1-18: Recorded At Radio Recorders Studios, Hollywood, January 3, 1953
#1-19 to 1-21: Recorded At Phil Tureksty' House, Loa Angeles, June 10, 1952.
#1-22 to 1-23: Recorded At Phil Tureksty' House, Loa Angeles, July 9, 1952.
#2-1 to 2-4: Recorded At The Haig, Los Angeles, prob. early January 1953
#2-5 to 2-8: Recorded At Gold Star Studios, Los Angeles, February 24, 1953
#2-9 to 2-16: Recorded At Radio Recorder, Los Angeles, April 27, 1953
#3-1 to 3-5, 3-17 to 3-19: Recorded At Radio Recorders, Los Angeles, April 29 and/or 30, 1953
#3-6 to 3-11: Recorded At Los Angeles, May 7, 1953
#3-12 to 3-16: Recorded At The Haig, Los Angeles, May 20, 1953
#4-1 to 4-6: Recorded At The Haig, Los Angeles, prob. Late January 1953
#4-7 to 4-9: Recorded Unknown Studio,Los Angeles, Late January 1953
#4-10 to 4-12: Recorded At Phil Tureskty's House,Los Angeles, Late January, 1953
#4-13 to 4-16: Recorded At the Capitol Studios, Hollywood, January 29, 1953
#4-13 to 4-16: Recorded At the Capitol Studios, Hollywood, January 31, 1953

Originally issued on Pacific Jazz, Fantasy and Gene Norman Presents labels.

A few years ago, I had this debate with a seller at a record fair. I mentioned that I was looking for Chet Baker records, whereupon he wanted to sell me a Gerry Mulligan/Chet Baker 10" at a ridiculously high price, insisting that these were some of Baker's best recordings. I, however, was looking for Baker records from the 1980s, insisting that those were his best recordings. "Best recordings?" the seller sneered, "he couldn't even breathe properly anymore in the 1980s".

The point being that if you like pre-1955 Chet Baker, you'll most probably not like any of his later recordings. Pre-1955 Chet Baker is prime "cool" jazz, white, mathematical West Coast jazz, some swing, lots of brain, and no guts. Oddly enough, as it is not just the time of his highest popularity in the USA, but also the period most readily available on compact disc (thanks to EMI owning the rights to the Pacific Jazz catalogue), the first three years of his career have -- very unjustly -- become almost synonymous with Baker's entire oeuvre.

This very aggressively priced and impeccably mastered 4-CD set contains the complete recordings of Gerry Mulligan with Chet Baker from the early 1950s; even though it says "quartet" on the box,  it not just contains all the recordings of the famous piano-less quartet, but also a few live sessions including larger ensembles.

Quite frankly, I much prefer Baker's recordings post-1956, after he had discovered hard bop during his extended stay in Europe and abandoned cool jazz. Mulligans's compositions are not without their merit, but rather than feeling the music, he seems to be constantly solving mathematical equations while playing his tunes. Sometimes the much more simplistic and straightforward Baker sounds almost refreshing compared to Mulligan's convoluted, but ultimately heartless runs, but even Baker was still pretty far from his later emotionality. Only a few exceptions, such as the heartfelt first recording of "My Funny Valentine" (still one of the very best) offer a glimpse at what Baker and Mulligan would have been capable of had their music been less brainy.

Also included in this collection, and very refreshing in comparison, is a session with Lee Konitz also released as Konitz Meets Mulligan. Despite being something of a cool jazzer himself, Konitz sounds far more natural and less mathematic than Mulligan, and provides some much-needed fresh air.

This is of course a vital collection for fans of cool jazz. If you're into early Gerry Mulligan, there's no cheaper, more complete set of his recordings than this. However, if you are more into late Chet Baker as I am, you may be able to acknowledge this collection for its historical value, but you may find it somewhat lacking, and unless you are a completist, a "Best of Mulligan/Baker" compilation might also be sufficient.

Chet Baker - 2003 - Chet Baker & Miles Davis With The Lighthouse All-Stars

Chet Baker
Chet Baker & Miles Davis With The Lighthouse All-Stars 
(The Complete Performances)

01. At Last 5:18
02. Winter Wonderland 4:24
03. Loaded 7:56
04. I'll Remember April 11:59
05. Pirouette 7:54
06. Witch Doctor 9:17
07. Round Midnight 5:44
08. Infinity Promenade 12:18
09. A Night In Tunesia 12:00

Alto Saxophone – Bud Shank (tracks: A1, B1, B3)
Baritone Saxophone – Bud Shank (tracks: B1)
Bass – Howard Rumsey (tracks: A1, A2, B1, B3)
Drums – Max Roach
Piano – Lorraine Geller (tracks: A1, B1), Russ Freeman (tracks: B3)
Tenor Saxophone – Bob Cooper (tracks: A1, B1, B3)
Trumpet – Chet Baker (tracks: B3), Miles Davis (tracks: A1, A2, B1, B3), Rolf Ericson (tracks: A1, B1)

Recorded in performance at the Lighthouse, Hermosa Beach, CA; Sunday, September 13, 1953
Digital remastering at Fantasy Studios, Berkeley

Originally released in 1985 as two separate albums, At Last! and Witch Doctor. The first one focusing on the MIles tracks, and the second on Chet.

It's Chet with the Lighthouse All Stars on tracks 1-6 and Miles with the stars on 7-9. Miles tone isn't really all that clear but compatible with his early 1950's 10 inch LPs for Blue Note and Prestige Rolf Ericson is the second trumpet on both sessions and then the saxes, Bud Shank on alto and the tenors of Bob Copper or Jimmy Giuffre. At Last and Round Midnight are trumpet quartet performances by Chet or Miles.

Chet Baker - 1998 - The Chet Baker Quartet Featuring Russ Freeman

Chet Baker
The Chet Baker Quartet Featuring Russ Freeman

01. Isn't It Romantic 
02. The Lamp Is Low
03. This Time The Dream's On Me 
04. Maid In Mexico 
05. Russ Job 
06. Imagination 
07. Long Ago & Far Away (10' LP Take) 
08. Long Ago & Far Away (12' LP Take)
09. Carson City Stage 
10. Easy To Love 
11. Batter Up 
12. No Ties (10' LP Take) 
13. No Ties (12' LP Take) 
14. All The Things You Are
15. The Thrill Is Gone (10' LP Take) 
16. The Thrill Is Gone (12' LP Take) 
17. Band Aid 
18. Bea's Flat
19. Moon Love (10' LP Take)
20. Moon Love (12' LP Take)
21. Happy Little Sunbeam 
22. Happy Little Sunbeam (Alt. Take)
23. I Fall In Love Too Easily 
24. Winter Wonderland (78 Take)
25. Winter Wonderland (LP Take) 

Recorded In Los Angeles, CA On July 24 Or 27 (1-4), July 29 Or 30 (5-11), October 3 (12-22) And October 27 (23-25), 1953
All Selections Are Mono
Selections 3, 4, 5 & 10 Are Dubbed From LP Pressings Because The Original Master Tapes No Longer Exist.

Chet Baker - Trumpet, Vocal On Track 23
Russ Freeman - Piano
Bob Whitlock - Bass On Tracks 1-4
Carson Smith - Bass On Tracks 5-22
Joe Mondragon - Bass On Tracks 23-25
Bobby White - Drums On Tracks 1-4
Larry Bunker - Drums On Tracks 5-22
Shelly Manne - Drums On Tracks 23-25

Review by Lindsay Planer
Chet Baker Quartet Featuring Russ Freeman (1998) is a perfect studio companion to the Mosaic Records set Complete Pacific Jazz Live Recordings of Chet Baker With Russ Freeman (1988). As was the custom for jazz platters of the time, both Baker and Freeman are joined by a different combo on each date. The luminaries include Bobby Whitlock (bass), Joe Mondragon (bass), Bobby White (bass), Larry Bunker (drums) and Shelly Manne (drums) from sessions held circa July and October of 1953. The 25 selections here provide copious evidence of Baker's uncanny artistry as he develops a dark, yet lyrical, interpretive approach. Immediately evident is the thoughtful synergy between Baker and the comparatively understated Freeman, whose comps help link the respective solos. In several notable instances, such as the nonchalant "Isn't It Romantic" or the limber syncopation of "Maid in Mexico," Freeman establishes the melody, rather than simply being relegated to the rhythm section. Additional diverse examples can be heard ranging from a sublime reading of "Imagination" to the upbeat and agile "All the Things You Are" — which commences in progress. These tunes would seed Baker's back catalog of material, becoming staples during his 30-plus-year repertoire. One facet to Chet Baker Quartet Featuring Russ Freeman that will be of considerable interest to collectors and hardcore enthusiasts are both the 10" EP and the 12" LP takes of "Long Ago and Far Away," "No Ties," "The Thrill Is Gone," "Moon Love" and the 78 rpm and long-player version(s) of "Winter Wonderland."While these renderings have been previously issued, this CD marks the first time that they are presented on a single volume. Among other stellar (if not definitive) inclusions are Freeman's "Russ Job," "Bea's Flat" and the sole Baker vocal on "I Fall in Love Too Easily." 

All of the tracks on this album were recorded in 1953 for Pacific Jazz and their subsidiary label World Pacific. On the first eleven tracks Baker is credited as the leader and on the remaining ones Russ Freeman is billed as a 'feature'. Listen to the sound samples on this page and you will Baker playing with more fire and aggressiveness than he later displayed after his style evolved and matured. I love his early work here and his later, more pensive work equally, so this album is a balance for me.

Each instrument is perfectly placed. Each musician is exercising dynamic control, but whoever engineered this session did a remarkable job, and whoever mixed this release did an equally remarkable one to my ears.

The first eleven tracks were recorded for Pacific Jazz under the auspices of the Chet Baker Quartet in a series of Los Angeles studio sessions in July 1953.

The very first track in the compilation was recorded on July 24, 1953 and features Baker backed by Russ Freeman on piano, Red Mitchell on bass and Bobby White on drums.

Tracks 2 through 4 were recorded on July 27, 1953 with Bob Whitlock replacing Red Mitchell on bass.

Baker and Freeman are backed by Carson Smith on bass and Larry Bunker on drums on tracks 5 through 11 that were recorded on July 29 and 30, 1953.

The remaining tracks in this compilation were recorded at Radio Recorders in Los Angeles during a single October 3, 1953 session. This was recorded under the auspices of the Chet Baker Quartet Featuring Russ Freeman, and features Baker and Freeman once again backed by Carson Smith on bass and Larry Bunker on drums.

The story in Holland is that when the Dutch police officer arrived at the death scene at the hotel in Amsterdam he inspected the body laying bloody and dead on the street. It was concluded that the body fell from the second story hotel window. In the room was found Heroin and Cocaine. In the body was found the same. No witnesses. The officer went home and sat in front of the TV with his dinner and a Chet Baker album on the record player. He was a huge fan of his work. He saw the news that Chet Baker was found dead on the street in Amsterdam. He was Heart Broken. Then he realized it was he that discovered the body but since Chet had destroyed himself with drugs he was not recognizable to even him. I don't know if that is true but it is safe to say Chet Baker chose a hard path in life. I think I hear it in some of his work. This is a good CD and if you are looking for a good jazz album with Chet singing on some tracks then this is a keeper. I have to be honest, there is some pain in his music that hooked me, but it is not all downbeat even though his life was.

Chet Baker & Stan Getz - 1997 - West Coast Live

Chet Baker & Stan Getz
West Coast Live

101. My Funny Valentine 2:59
102. Strike Up The Band 5:06
103. The Way You Look Tonight 6:18
104. Yardbird Suite 4:49
105. Yesterdays 4:23
106. Winter Wonderland 4:09
107. Come Out Wherever You Are 5:28
108. Move 4:34
109. What's New 3:41
110. Half Nelson 5:42
111. Little Willie Leaps 3:55
112. Soft Shoe 6:06
113. Whispering 9:04

201. Bernie's Tune 3:39
202. All The Things You Are 5:33
203. Winter Wonderland (tk 2) 4:18
204. Gone With The Wind 5:25
205. All The Things You Are 17:42
206. Darn That Dream 12:06
207. Crazy Rhythm 8:41

Bass – Carson Smith
Drums – Larry Bunker (tracks: 1-1 to 2-4), Shelly Manne (tracks: 2-5 to 2-7)
Piano – Russ Freeman (tracks: 2-5 to 2-7)
Tenor Saxophone – Stan Getz
Trumpet – Chet Baker

Tracks 1-1 to 2-4 recorded live at the Haig, Los Angeles, June 12, 1953.
Tracks 2-5 to 2-7 recorded at The Tiffany Club, Los Angeles, August 17, 1954 during the afternoon

June 12, 1953 was to have been another regular Monday at the Haig with Gerry Mulligan's pianoless quartet featuring Chet Baker. However, a lifestyle conflict between Gerry and the L.A. County Sheriff's office caused his absence that night. The band would eventually evolve into the Chet Baker quartet with Russ Freeman on piano. But that night, Stan Getz was enlisted to sub for Mulligan. These historic performances are here, complete and with the best possible sound, for the 1st time. Also includes 3 bonus audienceless performances

One of the most infamously acrimonious musical unions transpired between two of the leading purveyors of West Coast cool jazz: Chet Baker (trumpet) and Stan Getz (tenor sax). Their paths crossed only a handful of times and West Coast Live captures two of their earliest encounters in Los Angeles at the Haig on June 12, 1953, and the Tiffany Club on August 17, 1953. These recordings have been issued in Europe and Japan ad infinitum in varying degrees of quality, completeness, and often sporting erroneous data. However, enthusiasts should note that West Coast Live is the only release derived from producer/engineer Dick Bock's own master reels. For two men who purportedly would rather not be in the same room at the same time, Baker and Getz are able to create some legitimately brilliant improvisation. For the Haig set, Getz had been brought in to co-lead a quartet with Baker for an incarcerated Gerry Mulligan. Musically the results vacillate. There are moments of sheer inspiration, such as the musical cat and mouse demonstrated on "Strike up the Band" or the straight-ahead driving-bop lines the two bandy on "Yardbird Suite," which includes tasty solos from Carson Smith (bass) and Larry Bunker (drums). There are likewise the brass entanglements that plague "The Way You Look Tonight" as well as the opening of "Winter Wonderland," which suffers from the "too many cooks" syndrome. The second and shorter set is taken from a recording session held during the afternoon -- hence the lack of an audience response after each number -- at the Tiffany Club. Baker's quartet at the time featured Russ Freeman (piano) and Shelly Manne (drums), as well as Carson Smith (bass), who reprised his role at the heart of this quintet. All three tracks contain very little in the way of interaction between Baker and Getz, featuring more of the support trio than the two co-leads.

This is a surprisingly well-recorded two hours worth of West Coast Jazz recorded in 1953-54 Los Angeles. I use the word "surprisingly" here because Most live sessions from the early-to-mid 50s which have gone unreleased for over 40 years suffer from poor-to-sub-par recording quality. No such problem here--all the instruments are clear and the recording approaches studio quality. It's a nice engineering job from producer Richard Bock.

Stan Getz plays well here--his playing seems to endlessly flow from a seemingly inexaustable well. The saxophonist, however, tries mighty hard to invoke the chemistry Baker effortlessly had with Gerry Mulligan (improvised counterpoint, fugal-like filigrees, etc), but you can't TRY for chemistry. It has to happen naturally. It doesn't quite happen here, but man, does Getz put forth an effort to make the magic materialize! His playing is relaxed and technically impressive, but at times comes across as too cool, too lacking in emotion. In fact, downright cold in places. Stan would not have this problem in the 60s, but it plagues him to an extent here, despite the easy flow of his improvisations.

Chet's playing here is warmer than Getz's, but he has played better on other Pacific Jazz releases, notably Jazz at Ann Arbor and Quartet with Russ Freeman. Plus, he seems to be a little bit off-mike at times. Nevertheless, it you like West Coast Jazz, you're bound to enjoy the two CDs presented here. I would actually give this release 3 1/2 stars if I could.

ABOUT THE LINER NOTES: Having James Gavin write the liner notes for a Chet Baker release is akin to asking the late Albert Goldman to write the liner notes for a John Lennon album, or asking Mitch Miller to pen the liner notes for the new Rolling Stones reissue (it seems as if the Stones have some kind of new reissue every other week!). That Gavin has a vendetta against Baker is obvious from reading his Baker biography "Deep in a Dream" where he tears Chet a new one. I mean, Gavin totally raked poor Chet over the coals as a trumpet player(occasional faint praise above the endless damnation) and supposed rip-off artist who merely imitated Miles Davis and couldn't sing his way out of a wet paper bag. In fact, Gavin is particularly savage and cruel in his brutal condemation of Chet's vocalising. Despite this, Gavin was paid to write the liner notes for not only this CD, but the Embraceable You CD as well, a vocal album where Baker sings about 90% of the material!

So my question is this: If James Gavin is so utterly critical of Chet as a musician (we can overlook his critcism of Chet as a person, most of which was deserved), why did the suits at Capitol (who own the PJ catalog) hire him to write the liner notes to this and other CDs on that label? Why not someone who actually APPRECIATES Chet's playing and singing? Didn't the powers that be read "Deep in a Dream?" I just find something incredibly wrong about choosing this critic to write these notes!

But he does praise Chet's playing in the liner notes here. I am reminded of Nat Hentoff, who put down organist Jimmy Smith in review after review in Down Beat for being "too raucous" and "not relaxed enough." (Hentoff acutally preferred boring, coma-inducing Les Strand as an organist; even Lawrence Welk's organ player was far more swinging than Strand, believe it or not). This went on for years, UNTIL Hentoff, for some unknown reason, was paid to write the liner notes for a Jimmy Smith album, whereupon he suddenly LIKED Jimmy Smith's organ playing, despite putting it down for years on end. Maybe that's why James Gavin suddenly thinks Baker is a great trumpet player here. In other words, to paraphrase Bob Dylan, money doesn't talk, it swears!

Stan Getz Chet Baker Quartet - 1995 - Live At The Haig 1953

Stan Getz Chet Baker Quartet
Live At The Haig 1953

01. Yardbird Suite 4:51
02. The Way You Look Tonight 6:22
03. Half Nelson 5:36
04. Move 4:33
05. What's New 3:27
06. Strike Up The Band 4:42
07. Come Out Wherever You Are 5:26
08. All The Things You Are 5:37
09. Soft Shoe 5:05
10. Whispering 9:42
11. Yesterdays 4:21
12. Gone With The Wind 5:27

Bass – Carson Smith
Drums – Larry Bunker
Tenor Saxophone – Stan Getz
Trumpet – Chet Baker

Recorded at the Haig club, Hollywood, June 16, 1953.

Tracks from this residency at the Los Angeles club The Haig have previously been released by the Italian label Philology but with a different drummer and bass player. The sound quality on this release is far superior, the players contributions are much sharper and the drummer, Larry Bunker is much more to the fore in the mix without being intrusive.

This particular line-up came about as Gerry Mulligan took time out to rid himself of his addiction and recommended Stan Getz as his replacement during his absence.

Getz was an ideal replacement on a musical level but his personal relationship with Baker was far from an easy one. Apart from his work with Bob Brookmeyer and possibly J.J.Johnson, Getz always sounds much more at home in the quartet formation and the absence of a piano may also be a factor. It is not that Getz plays badly but he does not appear to be comfortable in this particular format.

Getz covers much the same role as Mulligan constantly prodding Baker with his interjections behind Baker’s solos as Baker does likewise behind Getz, but with less urgency than on the Mulligan / Baker recordings.

Many of the same numbers are used on this recording as were used by the original Quartet and possibly the same formant with much of the counterpoint passages which were such a feature of the original.

It is probably unfair to compare the two quartets but it is but it is impossible with them having so much in common.

It is possibly because of more chamber music style of both quartets that there is a feeling of the soloists holding back particularly in Getz case of their natural exuberance is not in evidence and possibly the absence of the piano.

“Little Willie Leaps” is one of the livelier tracks and both Getz and Baker have interesting solos and with some fine exchanges.

On “The Way You Look Tonight” turns in one of his best solos on the album which encourages to up his game and make this track the best on the recording.
A word of praise for drummer Larry Bunker whose good taste andhis backing is one of the features which lift this album.

This album must be judged not as two separate Quartets but merely as a live recording which has Getz as a replacement for the unavailable Gerry Mulligan and on that basis Getz was an ideal replacement and the Quartet acquits itself well.

Chet Baker - 1992 - Haig '53 (The Other Piano Less Quartet)

Chet Baker
Haig '53 (The Other Piano Less Quartet)

01. Yardbird Suite 4:51
02. The Way You Look Tonight 6:22
03. Half Nelson 5:36
04. Move 4:33
05. What's New 3:27
06. Strike Up The Band 4:42
07. Come Out Wherever You Are 5:26
08. All The Things You Are 5:37
09. Soft Shoe 5:05
10. Whispering 9:42
11. Yesterdays 4:21
12. Gone With The Wind 5:27

Bass – Carson Smith
Drums – Larry Bunker
Tenor Saxophone – Stan Getz
Trumpet – Chet Baker

Recorded at the Haig club, Hollywood, June 16, 1953.

The "Haig" here doesn't signify Al, but the Haig was a Los Angeles-based nightspot where this date was recorded on June 24, 1953. This is still a very early date for Chet Baker, whose first session as a leader for Pacific Jazz lay a month in the future. Baker's public career began as the star trumpet man in Gerry Mulligan's famous "piano-less quartet," and this is that same group, minus Mulligan, who by this date had been jailed on a narcotics charge. Stan Getz, fresh from his first conquest of Scandinavia, agreed to fill Mulligan's shoes on the last few dates the quartet had already booked, thus bringing together Getz and Baker on this live recording. CD annotator Roberto Capasso, in translation, lavishes praise on this recording in badly written notes that are printed in a small, solid block of text, both difficult to read and none too rewarding for the effort. He evaluates this session as being typified by "harmonious melting of the voices and the delicate pattern of the solos"; actually, this is a recording of a couple of fellows who don't know how to get out of each other's way. Haig '53: The Other Pianoless Quartet is mainly a train wreck in the making, but it stays interesting up through to the end of "Move." Afterward, Getz and Baker can't come to an agreement of how to put over the melody of "Mulligan's Soft Shoe," so only splintered fragments of the tune are given. Baker completely falls apart during "Whispering" and is forced to bail out short of completing his second chorus. Bassist Carson Smith gets a solo during "All the Things You Are," probably because by that time both frontmen had temporarily abandoned the piece. Roughly half of this date has been issued before as LA Get-Together on Fresh Sounds (CD-1022). The Fresh Sounds disc also includes two earlier pieces from this session which do not appear here, "Yardbird Suite" and "Half Nelson." As these numbers were performed early in the set, they are probably to be preferred over much of what appears on the Philology release. Also, the Fresh Sounds disc wisely withheld the last five numbers of this session, which likely should've stayed in the can; this Philology release marks these tracks' first appearance on disc. Despite Philology's identification of Joe Mondragon as bassist and Chico Hamilton as drummer, this is certainly Larry Bunker on drums and Carson Smith on bass -- perhaps the names were deliberately changed to those of sidemen whose work is more familiar to Europeans than these L.A.-based "locals." The sound is very good for a live club date of this period, with the usual minor amount of wow, flutter, and dropouts you would expect from a 1953 tape. The audience is pretty quiet as well, although during one of the later pieces somebody in the crowd at a close table decides to cough up a lung. Altogether, Haig '53: The Other Pianoless Quartet is mostly just a historical curiosity, and serves as testament to the long-standing friction between Stan Getz and Chet Baker -- artists who were stylistically similar to the extent that they should've gotten along -- but they didn't, and both players are far better-served on their own turf. ~ Uncle Dave Lewis, All Music Guide

Chet Baker - 1992 - Grey December

Chet Baker
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.

Chet Baker - 1989 -The Complete Pacific Jazz & Capitol Recordings of Gerry Mulligan With Chet Baker

Chet Baker
The Complete Pacific Jazz & Capitol Recordings of Gerry Mulligan  With Chet Baker

Disc I: The Quartet
101. Get Happy
102. 'S Wonderful
103. Godchild
104. Haig And Haig (Dinah)
105. She Didn't Say Yes, She Didn't Say No
106. Bernie's Tune
107. Lullaby Of The Leaves
108. Utter Chaos #1
109. Aren't You Glad You're You
110. Frenesi
111. Nights At The Turntable
112. Freeway
113. Soft Shoe
114. Walkin' Shoes
115. Aren't You Glad You're You
116. Get Happy
117. Poinciana
118. Godchild
119. Makin' Whopee
120. Cherry
121. Motel
122. Carson City Stage

Disc II: The Quartet
201. Festive Minor
202. My Old Flame
203. All The Things You Are
204. Love Me Or Leave Me (Alt)
205. Love Me Or Leave Me (Mst)
206. Swinghouse (10" Tk)
207. Swinghouse (12" Tk)
208. Jeru
209. Utter Chaos #2
210. Darn That Dream (Mst)
211. Darn That Dream (Alt)
212. I May Be Wrong (12" Tk)
213. I May Be Wrong (10" Tk)
214. I'm Beginning To See The Light (10" Tk)
215. I'm Beginning To See The Light (12" Tk)
216. The Nearness Of You
217. Tea For Two
218. Five Brothers
219. I Can't Get Started
220. Ide's Side
221. Funhouse (Haig And Haig)
222. My Funny Valentine

Disc III: The Tentette And Konitz Sessions
301. A Ballad
302. Westwood Walk
303. Walkin' Shoes
304. Rocker
305. Takin' A Chance On Love
306. Flash
307. Simbah
390. Too Marvelous For Words
310. Lover Man
311. I'll Remember April
312. These Foolish Things
313. All The Things You Are
314. Bernie's Tune
315. Almost Like Being In Love
316. Sextet
317. Broadway
318. I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me
319. Lady Be Good (Mst)
320. Lady Be Good (Alt)

Gerry Mulligan Quartet:
Chet Baker - Trumpet
Gerry Mulligan - Bariton Saxophone
Carson Smith - Bass
Larry Bunker - Drums

Gerry Mulligan Tentette:
Chet Baker - Trumpet
Pete Candoli - Trumpet
Bob Enevoldsen - Trombone
John Graas - French Horn
Ray Seigal - Tuba
Bud Shank - Alto Saxophone
Don Davidson - Bariton Saxophone
Gerry Mulligan - Bariron Saxophone, Piano
Joe Mondragon - Bass
Chico Hamilton - Drums
Larry Bunker - Drums

Lee Konitz - Gerry Mulligan Quintet:
Chet Baker - Trumpet
Lee Konitz - Alto Saxophone
Gerry Mulligan - Bariton saxophone
Joe Mondragon - Bass
Carson Smith - Bass
Larry Bunker - Drums

This five-LP or three-CD box set, as its title states, contains all of the Gerry Mulligan Quartet's recordings for Pacific Jazz and Capitol, everything that that classic group ever recorded other than the material issued by Prestige and a half record recorded for GNP Crescendo. Unfortunately, this is a limited-edition set that is now out of print but it is well worth finding, for not only does it have all of the Mulligan Quartet's other recordings but also 15 previously unissued performances, all of the sides on which altoist Lee Konitz sat in with the quartet and the eight recordings by the 1953 Gerry Mulligan Tentette. These highly influential performances set the standard for West Coast jazz, made trumpeter Chet Baker a star, and remain some of the high points of Gerry Mulligan's very productive career.

Chet Baker - 1989 - The Complete Pacific Jazz Live Recordings Of The Chet Baker Quartet With Russ Freeman

Chet Baker 
The Complete Pacific Jazz Live Recordings Of The Chet Baker Quartet With Russ Freeman

Recorded At The University Of Michigan In Ann Arbor On May 9, 1954
101. Announcements 0:39
102. Line For Lyons 6:48
103. Lover Man 5:45
104. My Funny Valentine 4:50
105. Maid In Mexico 4:50
106. Stella By Starlight 4:03
107. My Old Flame 5:44
108. Headline 4:45
109. Russ Job 5:53

Recorded At The Tiffany Club In Los Angeles On August 10, 1954
201. No Ties 3:10
202. Out Of Nowhere 8:30
203. Deep Purple 6:23
204. My Little Suede Shoes 6:30
205. Lady Bird 7:19
206. Line For Lyons 5:30
207. Lullaby Of The Leaves 4:30
208. My Old Flame 5:45
209. Russ Job 6:03
210. The Wind 4:20
211. Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart 6:00

301. Everything Happens To Me 5:18
302. A Dandy Line 6:25
303. Frenesi 6:28
304. Moonlight In Vermont 5:07
305. Carson City Stage 7:03
Recorded In Concert In Santa Cruz, California In Late July Or Late September-October, 1954
306. Billie's Bounce 10:22
307. Stella By Starlight 4:50
308. Line For Lyons 5:25
309. Carson City Stage 5:51
310. All The Things You Are

Bass – Carson Smith
Drums – Bob Neel
Piano – Russ Freeman
Trumpet – Chet Baker

The independent jazz reissue label Mosaic Records garnered a rightful reputation as industry leaders and enthusiast favorites with deluxe and strictly limited-edition packages such as this one. The contents of this four-LP/three-CD collection are derived from two performances during the summer of 1954 and feature the Chet Baker Quartet: Baker (trumpet/"boom bam" percussion), Russ Freeman (piano), Carson Smith (bass), and Bob Neel (drums). The two performances -- recorded July 21 at Santa Cruz's Civic Auditorium and August 10 at The Tiffany Club in Los Angeles, respectively -- are presented chronologically. The five tunes from the July set were documented by Pacific Jazz renaissance man Dick Bock using primitive portable open-reel (aka reel-to-reel) technology. Despite a few inherent tape anomalies, the amazingly rich sound rivals that of many studio releases of the same era. Unleashed from within Baker's normally reserved tone is an aggressive display of high energy and remarkably fluid bop chops on Charlie "Bird" Parker's "Billie's Bounce." The unfettered repartee between Baker and Freeman is likewise a highlight, as the two are able to augment and parlay melodies into minor works of expressionistic art. Even the decidedly cooler-toned "Stella by Starlight" and "Line for Lyons" contain fiery exchanges between the two. The Tiffany Club performance is decidedly lengthier and is joined already in progress. These August 10 performances capture the Chet Baker Quartet five nights into a run that extended over six weeks. For reasons which are unclear, this 90-plus-minutes of primal, live Baker Quartet remained for the most part unissued for well over three decades. Only edited versions of "Zing Went the Strings of My Heart" and the Freeman composition "Russ Job" were ever accessed, although neither appeared on a Baker or Freeman release. The entire quartet is in truly exceptional form on these recordings. Highlights include the Freeman- and Baker-dominated cover of Tadd Dameron's "Lady Bird," the tropically rhythmic "Frenesi," and a show-stopping reading of bassist Carson Smith's "Carson City Blues." Unlike much of Baker's catalog that remained decidedly more subdued, The Complete Pacific Live Jazz Recordings of Chet Baker With Russ Freeman captures the trumpet player as a young man at the very zenith of his talents. Although all the materials on this set are also available on the comparatively inexpensive Chet Baker Quartet Live, Vol. 2: Out of Nowhere and Chet Baker Quartet Live, Vol. 3: My Old Flame, they miss the lavish booklet that contains some of William Claxton's brilliant photography of the band circa the summer of 1954. This is an essential addition to any appreciation of Chet Baker or Russ Freeman.

Wonderful live work from one of Chet Baker's coolest groups – the combo he had with pianist Russ Freeman! The set features an unissued concert recorded in Santa Cruz, another mostly-unissued set from the Tiffany Club in Los Angeles, and the material that ended up on the Ann Arbor album. 

Chet Baker - 1987 - The Complete Pacific Jazz Studio Recordings Of The Chet Baker Quartet With Russ Freeman

Chet Baker 
The Complete Pacific Jazz Studio Recordings Of The Chet Baker Quartet With Russ Freeman

101. Isn't It Romantic 3:31
102. The Lamp Is Low 2:33
103. This Time The Dream's On Me 2:46
104. Maid In Mexico 2:55
105. Russ Job 2:55
106. Imagination 3:01
107. Long Ago And Far Away (10" LP Take) 2:15
108. Long Ago And Far Away (12" LP Take) 2:28
109. Carson City Stage 2:39
110. Easy To Love 3:01
111. Batter Up 2:54
112. No Ties (10" LP take) 2:59
113. No Ties (12" LP take) 3:00
114. All The Things You Are 2:55
115. The Thrill Is Gone (10" LP Take) 2:47
116. The Thrill Is Gone (12" LP Take) 2:48
117. Band Aid 2:46
118. Bea's Flat 3:01
119. Moon Love (10" LP take) 3:18
120. Moon Love (12" LP take) 3:18
121. Happy Little Sunbeam 2:43
122. Happy Little Sunbeam (Alternate Take) 2:44
123. I Fall In Love Too Easily 2:05
124. Winter Wonderland (78 Take) 3:20
125. Winter Wonderland (LP Take) 2:26

201. The Thrill Is Gone 2:50
202. But Not For Me 3:03
203. Time After Time 2:46
204. I Get Along Without You Very Well 2:59
205. There Will Never Be Another You 2:59
206. Look For The Silver Lining 2:40
207. My Funny Valentine 2:19
208. I Fall In Love Too Easily 3:20
209. Daybreak
210. Just Friends 2:44
211. I Remember You 3:16
212. Let's Get Lost 3:45
213. Long Ago And Far Away 3:59
214. You Don't Know What Love Is 4:53
215. That Old Feeling 3:02
216. It's Always You 3:35
217. I've Never Been In Love Before 4:28
218. My Buddy 3:19
219. Like Someone In Love 2:26
220. My Ideal 4:20

301. Love Nest 4:20
302. Fan Tan 5:43
303. Summer Sketch 4:39
304. An Afternoon At Home 5:12
305. Say When 5:04
306. Lush Life 4:56
307. Amblin' 7:14
308. Hugo Hurwhey 4:25

Bass – Bob Whitlock (tracks: 1.2 to 1.4)
Bass –  Carson Smith (tracks: 1.5 to 1.22, 2.2 to 2.14)
Bass – Jimmy Bond (tracks: 2.15 to 2.20)
Bass – Joe Mondragon (tracks: 1.23 to 2.1)
Bass – Leroy Vinnegar (tracks: 3.1 to 3.8)
Bass – Red Mitchell (tracks: 1.1)
Drums – Bob Neel (tracks: 2.2. to 2.14)
Drums – Bobby White (tracks: 1.1 to 1.4)
Drums – Larry Bunker (tracks: 1.5 to 1.22)
Drums – Lawrence Marable (tracks: 2.18 to 2.20)
Drums – Peter Littman (tracks: 2.15 to 2.17)
Drums – Shelly Manne (tracks: 1.23 to 2.1, 3.1 to 3.8)
Piano – Russ Freeman
Trumpet, Vocals – Chet Baker

This is the one to get.The Complete Studio Pacific Jazz recordings of Chet Baker .Chet was no angel,but his recordings make up for it.Three CDs and a book.Hear Chet sing,I Remember You,Daybreak,Long Ago and Far Away,The Thrill Is Gone,Just Friends,My Funny Valentine,You Dont Know What Love is,Lets Get Lost,But,Not For Me,etc.
The other two CDs contain Chets instumental sides on Pacific Jazz.
CD 1 is that black cover Chet Baker Russ Freeman CD as is
CD 2 is Chet Baker Sings perhaps with previously unreleased tracks
CD 3 is just that red or orange cover Russ Freeman Chet Baker session from 1956

Iconic West Coast jazz by the legendary trumpeter at the cusp of his career. Baker made a slew of recordings in his lifetime, but this is among the crème de la crème. 


Trumpeter Chet Baker rose to prominence in the mid-1950's and continued to perform and record prolifically until the late 1980's. But his best work came early in his career. Baker was a long-term heroin addict, and much of his later output, which can sound tired and repetitive, seems to reflect the toll the drugs took on his mind and body. 

Baker's playing as a young man was nothing short of ethereal. His approach was spare, so you won't hear dizzying displays of rapid-fire notes, and he generally played the instrument in its middle range, so you won't hear piercing high C's. There's a light, laid-back aura to his playing that makes it seem effortless. But each note has a purpose, each chorus a musical story of its own. Baker was a wonderful improviser, able to turn a Gershwin or Rogers & Hart ballad into something even more beautiful than the original. But he could also generate pulse-pounding excitement on up-tempo numbers. 

Trying to sample Baker's early work can be confusing, because the original recordings have been shuffled and re-issued so many times over the years. The result has been a bin full of "Best of" collections, many repeating some (but not all) of the songs on the others. 

This disc will help us cut though the confusion. These are all tracks made in 1953, when Baker was 24 years old and on the cusp of his career. They also feature pianist/composer Russ Freeman, who contributed half a dozen tunes to the sessions. 

Just to be sure you have the right disc, this is the one called Chet Baker Quartet featuring Russ Freeman, on the Pacific Jazz Records label. It has 25 tracks, beginning with "Isn't It Romantic" and ending with "Winter Wonderland." 

You'll notice that the tracks on this disc run only three minutes or so. That's because record companies were still making 78 rpm records along with long-playing (LP) records in the early 1950's, and those old 78's couldn't accommodate more than three minutes. Still, Baker and company manage to pack a lot of music into such a short window. 

You'll also notice that these are monaural recordings. (Stereo didn't become widely available for another decade.) But don't worry. Although the sound won't blow you out of the room, you'll find it crisp and clear.