As the poster boy for cool jazz in the '50s, trumpeter and vocalist Chet Baker symbolized, at least briefly, that decade's soulful underside. But rather than ascend the throne of celebrity, he remained the outsider, the quintessential beautiful loser. For the next three decades, Baker wandered in and out of the spotlight, with moments of brilliance scattered amidst physical decline and personal travails. After getting his teeth knocked out in a drug-related scuffle, he quit playing for years. When he finally returned he was still powerful, but something of a haunted presence. An acclaimed Baker documentary, LET'S GET LOST, was released in 1987, but the next year Baker fell out of a window while under the influence of drugs and died a death as tragic as much of his genius-speckled life.
Chet Baker was at the height of his popularity, the epitome of cool jazz, when these tracks were recorded for Pacific Jazz between 1952 and 1954. While Baker could hold his own in bop settings, the emphasis in this collection is squarely on his lyrical approach to ballads, whether singing or playing trumpet, with just a rhythm section or an added string orchestra. His vocals were absolutely distinctive, sung in a high-pitched, even fragile voice seemingly drained of emotion and yet possessing an inherent charm, a detachment that might be both the antithesis of style and its definition, whether it's heard as sensitivity or indifference. The singing is a double of his trumpet playing here, spare and barely present but achieving much through nuance and suggestion. Pianist Russ Freeman is an almost constant partner, supplying deft chords and harmonic daring, amplifying Baker's ideas. Their empathy is especially evident in the beautiful instrumental "Moon Love," but it's just as significant on signature Baker songs such as "My Funny Valentine," "Let's Get Lost," and "Like Someone in Love." --Stuart Broomer
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Chet Baker delves deep into the crevices of songs that deal with... you guessed
it - L-O-V-E, exploring the serious to the most sensual. A must have for that
special someone during that special something!! )