The numbers heard on Chet Baker & Crew were among a prolific flurry of recordings Baker was involved in during the last week of July 1956 -- fresh from an extended European stay. Sessions were held every day from the 23rd through the 31st, which resulted in such classic titles as The Route, Chet Baker Sings, and At the Forum Theater -- which is also available under the title Young Chet -- as well as Chet Baker & Crew. The crew on these sides includes Phil Urso (tenor sax), Bobby Timmons (piano), Jimmy Bond (bass), Peter Littman (drums), and of course Baker (trumpet/vocals). Joining the combo on both the original as well as the alternate take of "To Mickey's Memory" and "Pawnee Junction" is Bill Loughbrough (chromatic tympani). His unmistakable percussive accents and tuned drum solos give these West Coast bop tracks uniquely Polynesian intonations. The bandmembers take full advantage of their individual roles and abilities as soloists to really stretch out on "Slightly Above Moderate" and the Urso-credited composition "Halema" -- named after Baker's wife. The chemistry of cool that flows between Urso and Baker is perhaps at its finest during the seamless exchange heard on "Worryin' the Life Out of Me." Timmons also boasts notable contributions throughout. His playful and scampering style dresses up the bluesy "Lucius Lu" and "Line for Lyons," among others. The latter is also notable as it contains the sole Baker vocal on this set.
AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer