Chet Baker

Indian Summer

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After Chet Baker tasted success on his own following the breakup of the quartet with Gerry Mulligan, he never looked back, though his drug problem would increasingly hamper his career for the rest of his life. The quartet he took to Europe was a junkie band, with the leader, pianist Dick Twardzik (who would die from an overdose in Paris just over a month after these concerts), and drummer Peter Littman all being heroin addicts. Yet the band is in good form for this pair of performances, recorded on two consecutive nights in Amsterdam and Scheveningen. Johnny Mandel's "Tommyhawk" is used as an opener for the two concerts, with Baker on fire in both versions. Twardzik's inventive playing behind Baker in "Indian Summer" alternates between a colorful tremolo and sparse bop. Unfortunately, the tape ran out before "My Funny Valentine" was completed, though Baker's subtle, warm vocal is a highlight. Baker also masters the standard "Imagination" with a heartfelt performance. Baker and company sizzle in their take of Jimmy Heath's "C.T.A.," a piece already on its way to becoming a jazz standard, though it is faded out due to the presence of a radio announcer talking over the performance. This compilation easily stands up to the typical radio broadcasts or audience recordings made in the U.S. during the 1950s, so Chet Baker fans will want this Dutch release.

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