Chet Baker

Compact Jazz: Chet Baker

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Chet Baker's entry in the Compact Jazz series is essentially an odyssey between two continents, chronicling his wanderings through Europe and America over the span of a decade. The disc begins with some of his 1955 Paris sessions, and then skips over to Baden-Baden for an eerie duo encounter with pop singer/guitarist Caterina Valente that is rhythmically close to a premonition of bossa nova. On to Chicago in 1958, where Chet communes and races with Stan Getz for 15 often thrilling minutes on "Halfbreed Apache." Two New York tracks from 1965 catch Chet nonchalantly blowing at ballad tempo with a section of reeds and rhythm section. Finally the disc backtracks a year with four tracks from a New York sextet and quartet (whose personnel includes the young Bob James or Hal Galper on piano) where Chet is in prime bop form; no limp tones here. Although these are not his most famous sessions, you'll get a better impression of Chet's work here than with some other single-disc samplers that come to mind.

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