Chet Delcampo

Apartment Songs

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In Philadelphia pop/rock circles, singer/songwriter Chet Delcampo has sometimes been compared to another Chet: the late cool jazz trumpeter/vocalist Chet Baker. It's definitely a valid comparison -- up to a point, anyway. Delcampo, like Baker, thrives on subtlety, softness, and understatement; Apartment Songs, Delcampo's second album, isn't the work of a screamer any more than the countless jazz recordings that Baker provided when he was alive. But it's important to stress that the Baker/Delcampo comparison has to do with Delcampo's effective use of economy and restraint rather than his choice of a genre. While Baker was very much a jazz improviser -- Miles Davis was his primary influence -- Delcampo's turf is alternative pop/rock; he can be jazzy, but he isn't jazz. Delcampo doesn't get into bop changes on Apartment Songs; he doesn't scat-sing his way through anything by Sonny Rollins or Clifford Brown. Delcampo does, however, bring something delightfully intimate (not to mention soulful) to hushed, moody, gently reflective offerings like "Day in the Fall" and "A Candle Is a Furnace." According to the credits, all of the material on this 2003 release was "recorded in an apartment (in) Olde City, Philadelphia, PA" -- which explains why the CD is titled Apartment Songs. These days, a lot of great-sounding CDs are recorded in home studios, and Apartment Songs isn't lacking in the area of sound quality any more than it is lacking in craftsmanship -- Apartment Songs, in fact, sounds well-produced but not overproduced. Like Delcampo's previous release, The Fountain, Apartment Songs has enjoyed more attention in the Philly/South Jersey/Delaware Valley area than it has nationally. But that doesn't make Delcampo's performances any less compelling, and one hopes that he will eventually enjoy the amount of national exposure that he deserves.

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