Chet Baker

Complete 1953-1954 Studio Recordings

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In terms of thoroughness, 2004's Complete 1953-1954 Studio Recordings delivers the goods on trumpeter/vocalist Chet Baker's earliest output for Pacific Jazz. Collected within the double-disc set is much of the same material that can be found on Grey December, Chet Baker Big Band, Chet Baker Quartet Featuring Russ Freeman, and Chet Baker Sings. That said, by the very nature of those modern compilations, each includes additional selections that enthusiasts will inevitably desire. Among the musicians joining Baker are Art Pepper (alto sax), Bud Shank (sax), Phil Urso (tenor sax), Bobby Timmons (piano), Russ Freeman (piano), Shelly Manne (drums), Bob Whitlock (bass), Joe Mondragon (bass), Bobby White (bass), and Larry Bunker (drums). But it is undeniably Baker at the center of the timeless arrangements, most notably Johnny Mandel's "Tommy Hawk" and "I'm Glad There Is You" -- both of which are undisputed high watermarks of the Freeman sextet sessions. Other focal points from the era are the off the cuff "Isn't It Romantic" and the frisky syncopated "Maid in Mexico" -- with Freeman's unmistakable melody lines -- as well as the understated and sublime "Imagination." The latter likewise features one of Baker's all too infrequent vocals, which the artist eventually all but abandoned. Complete 1953-1954 Studio Recordings also boasts a number of 10" EP and alternate 12" LP versions, primarily "No Ties," "There Will Never Be Another You," "Long Ago and Far Away," "The Thrill Is Gone," "Moon Love," "Winter Wonderland," "Happy Little Sunbeam," and "Little Old Lady." Again, it bears mentioning that since this retrospective includes no previously unissued tunes, some may find it a bit redundant. However, parties seeking an apt omnibus of seminal Baker sides can't go wrong here.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
feat: Russ Freeman
3:33
2
feat: Russ Freeman
2:33
3
feat: Russ Freeman
2:46
4
feat: Russ Freeman
2:57
5
feat: Russ Freeman
3:01
6
feat: Russ Freeman
2:57
7
feat: Russ Freeman
2:56
8
feat: Russ Freeman
3:03
9
feat: Russ Freeman
2:15
10
feat: Russ Freeman
2:37
11
feat: Russ Freeman
3:01
12
feat: Russ Freeman
2:57
13
feat: Russ Freeman
2:48
14
feat: Russ Freeman
2:45
15
feat: Russ Freeman
3:03
16
feat: Russ Freeman
3:20
17
feat: Russ Freeman
2:45
18
feat: Russ Freeman
2:07
19
feat: Russ Freeman
3:22
20
feat: Russ Freeman
2:54
21
feat: Russ Freeman
2:30
22
feat: Russ Freeman
3:02
23
feat: Russ Freeman
2:47
24
feat: Russ Freeman
3:20
25
feat: Russ Freeman
2:46
26
feat: Russ Freeman
2:26

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
feat: Russ Freeman
3:05
2
feat: Russ Freeman
2:48
3
feat: Russ Freeman
3:01
4
feat: Russ Freeman
3:01
5
feat: Russ Freeman
2:42
6
feat: Russ Freeman
2:21
7
feat: Russ Freeman
3:23
8
feat: Russ Freeman
3:10
9
feat: Russ Freeman
3:01
10
feat: Russ Freeman
3:11
11
feat: Russ Freeman
2:51
12
feat: Russ Freeman
3:28
13
feat: Russ Freeman
2:50
14
feat: Russ Freeman
3:26
15
feat: Russ Freeman
3:50
16
feat: Russ Freeman
4:36
17
feat: Russ Freeman
3:39
18
feat: Russ Freeman
4:12
19
feat: Russ Freeman
4:44
20
feat: Russ Freeman
3:56
21
feat: Russ Freeman
3:17
22
feat: Russ Freeman
3:01
23
feat: Russ Freeman
1:58
blue highlight denotes track pick