Ballads for Two

Chet Baker

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Ballads for Two Review

by Scott Yanow

Chet Baker often sounded at his best during his later years when playing with a quiet trio consisting of himself, guitar, and a bassist. For 1979's Ballads for Two, Baker is joined by not only guitarist Larry Coryell and bassist Buster Williams, but by the mellow-toned vibraphonist Wolfgang Lackerschmid (who gets co-leadership) and a very restrained Tony Williams on drums. The mostly little-known material (five originals by the sidemen plus "Here's That Rainy Day") suits Baker fine. The emphasis is on slower tempoes (other than Buster Williams' closing blues) including a pair of jazz waltzes. Baker's chops sound fine within the limited scope that he plays. The overall results are not essential but are worthwhile.

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