Chet Baker

Not everyone’s cup of tea and throughout his career there where periods of mediocrity but between the early 50’s and the mid 1960’s and again from the late 70’s right up until his untimely death in the late 80’s he recorded some truly exceptional music.

So this is a thread to share your thoughts and your favorite songs of the super cool Chet Baker.

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I’ve come late to Chet after having heard the odd track over the years. I’m still working through his vast catalogue but I haven’t yet heard anything I don’t relate to. I started with his early stuff, including singing, and then started working backward from his unfortunate end. I’m sure I’ll eventually get to a ‘dead’ period of recording, but I’m not there yet. He was a virtuoso both in playing and interpretation.

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Check out his albums “Chet” and “In New York”. Great stuff!

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Recorded in Japan just a few months before Chet’s passing this version of My Funny Valentine a record he recorded many times is just sublime .

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Though not a great recording this is a rare video of the above performance.

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Absolute genius! Taken from us far too soon (58 years old) but got into him in the 80s and will give your recommendations a listen :slightly_smiling_face:

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Taken from the LP of the same name and one of several recorded on Steeplechase with Doug Raney and Neils-Henning Ørsted from this period late 70’s to mid 80’s including the excellent trio of LP’s
Recorded live at Montmartre, Copenhagen, October 4, 1979.

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A brilliant cover of Cole Porter’s - Love For Sale released on the 1985 LP Candy on the Swedish label
Sonnet with Jean-Louis Rassinfosse on bass and the excellent Micheal Graillier on Piano. Chet played hundreds of dates with this Trio during this period and as you can hear the where an exceptionally tight group this recording was in the Sonet library on June 30th, 1985 and the concert is also available on DVD and is also on youtube.

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Although I first learned about Chet Baker via his classic recordings from the 1950s, this late recording is outstanding — tender, frail, but soulful. It’s also a good recording for those of us who care about such silly things!

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Totally agree and luckily enja Records reissued this LP on vinyl and so it’s now widely available prior to that an original copy would have cost a hundred pounds or so.

Fellow trumpeter Jack Sheldon hadn’t seen Chet in a while, and was shocked by the toll that years of addiction had taken. Chet tried to downplay it by saying “they’re just laughter lines.” Sheldon’s response: “Chet, nothing’s that funny.”

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I love Chet Baker and have about 130 albums LP & CD
The pictured LP cover is just one I have listened to recently, not easy to pick a favourite, but I definitely prefer his later work 1970’s…
He has to be the master of trumpet improvisation, without needing to hit super Gs etc.
Must have had really good breath control & extremely dextrous fingers to play all the runs in the lower registers, the fingering is much easier higher up ?!
Sadly missed !

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Bea’s Flat - Chet Baker Quartet featuring Russ Freeman, Pacific Jazz (1953)

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Chet Baker in Tokyo is my favorite Chat Baker recording, at least from the few I have heard until now.

Almost Blue and My Funny Valentine are just sublime

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Chet Baker Live in Sweden with the Åke Johansson Trio recorded live at the JazzClub Nefertiti, Gothenburg on November 29th, 1983. Side 2 features a lovely cover of Charlie Haden’s Ellen David.


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This is one of my favorite records, not only from Chet…
Often this is the last record of a listening session, usually late at night (when I can…).
My original Paddle Wheel has been played countless times so luckily it’s been reissued by King Records in Japan and I got my copy.
I like to “get lost” in this record and It plays beautifully also at low volume… It has the power to draw you into that venue, that evening…
Another series that I like Is the Steeplechase editions, great records probably a bit underrated vs most popular titles but absolutely worth to be considered.

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Taken from the excellent Symphonically with pianist Mike Melillo and backed by the Orchestra Filarmonica Marchigiana though this track features just Chet and Mike.

Recorded live on July 8, 1985 at Arena Gigli Porto Recanati in Italy.

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Paddle Wheel reissued this one just this year, ordered a copy yesterday.
Curious to compare it to the Evidence CD release

Yes I have both memories and Four of the recent reissue and both are better than the Belaphon CD I have.

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Yessss …! :smiley:

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