Chet Baker


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Chet Baker lives! By taking lush string arrangements by Michel Hardy recorded after the trumpeter's death and incorporating them in what appear to be two separate quartets sessions led by Baker from 1986 to 1988, this CD is a loving tribute to an icon of 20th Century jazz. The recording of the strings is seamless, lovingly performed, and sounds as if it were recorded contemporaneously with the small groups. The ten tunes are mostly ones Baker performed before, including "Angel Eyes," "My Funny Valentine," "As Time Goes By," and "My Foolish Heart." Although Baker was not in the best of shape and has trouble with his vocalizing, his trumpet work is satisfactory and the sheer emotions produced are nearly awe-inspiring. While there is much better Baker available, this unique and creative approach to adding the strings posthumously is surprisingly attractive and opens endless possibilities. The rhythm sections, one of which includes drummer Ben Riley and pianist Harold Danko, blend smoothly and inconspicuously, permitting the focus to be Chet's singing and trumpeting.

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