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Jazz - Released January 1, 1988 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2011 | Original Jazz Classics

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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Jazz - Released June 15, 2007 | ENJA RECORDS Matthias Winckelmann

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1993 | Blue Note Records

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Releasing an entire album under the moniker Chet Baker Big Band is a bit of a misnomer, as only the first four sides actually incorporate an 11-person configuration. The remaining tracks from the long-player feature a slightly smaller nonet configuration. Among the luminaries joining Baker (trumpet) and participating in the big-band arrangements are Art Pepper (alto sax), Bud Shank (alto sax), Phil Urso (tenor sax), and Bobby Timmons (piano). The critical argument proposing that Baker's style is more akin to bop -- and the residual post-bop -- than the West Coast cool that he is often connected with gets tremendous validation throughout not only the four big-band tracks, but also the remainder of the album. The band bops with tremendous verve behind Baker's unmistakable leads. Jimmy Heath's ultrahip arrangements -- especially of "Tenderly" and "A Foggy Day" -- allow the soloists to improvise fluidly from within the context of the larger unit. The Pierre Michelot composition "Mythe" is notable for some outstanding soloing from Baker and Timmons. It is a shame that poor master tape editing -- a motif that haunts many Dick Bock productions -- mars the overall aesthetic. Of the nonet sides, the band really jumps and responds best to the original compositions such as Phil Urso's "Phil's Blues" and "V-Line." The horn blend on these recordings is likewise striking. ~ Lindsay Planer
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1996 | Fantasy Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Chet Baker was quite busy during three days in August 1965, recording five LPs worth of material with tenor saxophonist George Coleman (formerly with Miles Davis), pianist Kirk Lightsey, bassist Herman Wright and drummer Roy Brooks. Baker, sticking to flugelhorn, is heard in fine form on this CD reissue, which (along with Stairway to the Stars and Lonely Star) brings back all of the music in full; each CD also contains all of the liner notes from the five original albums. For this particular reissue, the quintet performs six likable originals by Richard Carpenter, Jimmy Mundy's "Sleeping Susan," three Tadd Dameron tunes, and a Sonny Stitt blues. Most of the selections are taken at relaxed tempos, but it is the hottest number, "Go-Go," that is most memorable. Considering that Baker's records of the next few years were consistent commercial turkeys (including A Taste of Tequila, In the Mood, the infamous Albert's House and Blood, Chet and Tears), it can accurately be stated that the Prestige sets are Chet Baker's last worthwhile recordings before his comeback began in 1974. ~ Scott Yanow
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1954 | Blue Note Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Chet Baker Ensemble collects all the tracks recorded by trumpeter Chet Baker and his group on a session for Pacific Jazz in late December of 1953. Having been released piecemeal on various albums over the years, this represents the first complete gathering of this material. Recorded less than two months before the legendary Chet Baker Sings sessions, these tracks showcase the young Baker as a hardcore jazz trumpeter before the public became overwhelmingly infatuated with his unique vocal abilities. Featuring first-rate "West Coast"-style arrangements by tenor saxophonist Jack Montrose -- who also composed many of the songs -- the septet seems to combine the jocular interplay of Baker's work with saxophonist Gerry Mulligan with the hip, swinging work popularized by the large ensembles of trumpeter Shorty Rogers. Besides Montrose, backing Baker here are saxophonists Herb Geller and Bob Gordon, bassist Joe Mondragon, drummer Shelly Manne, and pianist Russ Freeman. Rating alongside the best of Baker's catalog, Chet Baker Ensemble is a must-hear for both longtime fans and neophytes of the iconic trumpeter/vocalist's work. ~ Matt Collar
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1996 | Fantasy Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1997 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1987 | Fantasy Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
The ultra-hip and sophisticated "cool jazz" that Chet Baker (trumpet/vocals) helped define in the early '50s matured rapidly under the tutelage of producer Dick Bock. This can be traced to Baker's earliest sides on Bock's L.A.-based Pacific Jazz label. This album is the result of Baker's first sessions for the independent Riverside label. The Chet Baker Quartet featured on Chet Baker Sings: It Could Happen to You includes Kenny Drew (piano), Sam Jones (bass), and Philly Joe Jones (drums). (Performances by bassist George Morrow and drummer Dannie Richmond are featured on a few cuts.) This results in the successful combination of Baker's fluid and nonchalant West Coast delivery with the tight swinging accuracy of drummer Jones and pianist Drew. Nowhere is this balance better displayed than the opening and closing sides on the original album, "Do It the Hard Way" and "Old Devil Moon," respectively. One immediate distinction between these vocal sides and those recorded earlier in the decade for Pacific Jazz is the lissome quality of Baker's playing and, most notably, his increased capacity as a vocalist. The brilliant song selection certainly doesn't hurt either. This is an essential title in Chet Baker's 30-plus year canon. [Some reissues contain two bonus tracks, "I'm Old Fashioned" and "While My Lady Sleeps"]. ~ Lindsay Planer
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1980 | Fantasy Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Artists House, a classy if short-lived label, released this attractive Chet Baker LP, a quintet date with tenor saxophonist Gregory Herbert, pianist Harold Danko, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Mel Lewis. The challenging material ("The Song Is You" is the only one of the five songs that is a standard) inspires the musicians to play creative solos. It is particularly interesting to hear Baker interpret the Wayne Shorter tune "ESP." ~ Scott Yanow
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1992 | Fantasy Records

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Jazz - Released December 31, 1899 | ENJA RECORDS Matthias Winckelmann

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This one is a bit unusual since the trumpeter is accompanied by David Friedman (on vibes and marimba), bassist Buster Williams and drummer Joe Chambers. The music (which includes two takes of "3+1=5") is somewhat challenging ("The Song Is You" is the only standard) and it inspires Baker to come up with some lyrical statements. There are many Chet Baker recordings from his final decade and his true fans will want to pick up this one. ~ Scott Yanow
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Jazz - Released April 7, 2003 | ENJA RECORDS Matthias Winckelmann

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Chet Baker's 1978 European tour with pianist Phil Markowitz, bassist Scott Lee, and drummer Jeff Brillinger produced several recordings of varying quality. Live at Nick's is considered a classic, whereas Two a Day, recorded only one month later, is less consistently rewarding. The tapes on which Oh You Crazy Moon is based were recorded live in Stuttgart within the same few weeks as the Two a Day concerts, and are certainly worth hearing, if not quite essential. Baker's accompanists provide most of the truly transcendent musical moments; special credit is due to Markowitz, whose sensitive and careful piano playing is at all times perfectly suited to both Baker's voice and his trumpet, even when both are less than completely assured themselves. When Baker falters a bit at the beginning of "Beautiful Black Eyes," the rhythm section helps him along until he finds his feet; on a rollicking take of "Love for Sale," however, he seems to be having more fun. His de rigueur rendition of "My Funny Valentine," which ends the set, is the warmest and most confident piece on the album. Overall, this is an album his established fans will enjoy, but those looking for a good entry into his voluminous catalog will do best to start with the 1950s recordings that made him a star. ~ Rick Anderson
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Jazz - Released December 30, 1998 | ENJA RECORDS Matthias Winckelmann

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Jazz - Released November 22, 2019 | Craft Recordings

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In 1954, Chet Baker was named trumpeter of the year by the American jazz press. Miles Davis wrote in his autobiography, “I think he knew he didn’t deserve it over Dizzy and a lot of other trumpet players. [...] Both him and me knew that he had copied a lot of sh*t from me”. Whatever Miles may have said or written, Chet Baker’s name was certainly on everyone’s lips in the 1950’s. Even when he played alongside some of the best musicians in the business like Charlie Parker, Gerry Mulligan and Russ Freeman, Baker still held his own. The angel-faced musician based in Los Angeles played a pivotal role in the development of cool/West Coast jazz and in 1958 he signed a four-album contract with Riverside Records, a New York label who was captivated by his music. The complete collection of The Legendary Riverside Albums, released in autumn 2019, is a compilation of essential tracks showcasing a musician far more versatile than he may at first appear, who glamorized California’s cool jazz but was also able to work alongside hard bop heavyweights from the East Coast. In addition to these four re-mastered albums in Hi-Res 24-Bit, he compiled a number of alternative takes from these sessions into a fifth album. The first of these four albums (Chet Baker Sings) It Could Happen to You, released in October 1958, shows his originality as he has a modern take on standards such as How Long Has This Been Going On? and Old Devil Moon. Unlike his business partner Bill Grauer, producer Orrin Keepnews was initially reluctant to welcome Chet Baker to his label and therefore didn’t produce this first album. But as it happens, after hearing Chet’s singing accompanied by Kenny Drew on piano, George Morrow and Sam Jones on double bass and Philly Joe Jones and Dannie Richmond on drums, Keepnews ended up being seriously impressed. Compared with the great singers of the time Chet Baker was just as innovative with his vocals as he was when playing his instrument. He stayed true to himself and his own style – which is a real testament to his character. One month later he was back in the studio working on Chet Baker in New York, which was released in 1959 featuring Johnny Griffin on saxophone, Al Haig on piano and Paul Chambers on double bass. This album really raised the bar as the musicians take on some exquisite solos in ballads such as Polka Dots and Moonbeams and much more up-tempo hits such as the lively Hotel 49. Perhaps the most impressive of the lot is the album Chet, recorded on December 30 th 1959 and 19 th January 1959, featuring pianist Bill Evans, guitarist Kenny Burrell, flutist Herbie Mann and saxophonist Pepper Adams. You can hear the languor of Chet’s playing more than ever as the music takes on an all-new impressionistic feel and Evans’ wonderful phrases on piano are completely in sync. From the first few seconds of the opening track of this masterpiece, Alone Together, with its stunning cover (Chet with model Rosemary “Wally” Coover, photographed by Melvin Sokolsky), the sensual and minimalist style give the album a more modern style. Later in July of that same year (1959), he recorded Chet Baker Plays the Best of Lerner & Loewe to round off his brief episode with Riverside Records. It covers Broadway hits from musicals such as My Fair Lady, Gigi, Brigadoon and Paint Your Wagon by lyricist Alan Jay Lerner and composer Frederick Loewe. Chet is once again joined by Bill Evans, Pepper Adams and Herbie Mann here, as well as saxophonist Zoot Sims. His repertoire is just as distinctive as ever as he makes an esthetic sleight of hand when covering these tracks by adding his melancholic phrasing. Great music. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released December 4, 2015 | Riverside

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2007 | Riverside

Jazz - Released April 16, 2002 | ENJA RECORDS Matthias Winckelmann

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Jazz - Released February 17, 2014 | Verve Reissues

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Baker's Holiday finds Chet Baker effectively paying tribute to Billie Holiday with mellow trumpet solos and occasional vocals. Baker is backed by a full sax section and a four-piece rhythm section that includes pianist Hank Jones; Jimmy Mundy contributed the colorful arrangements. His performance of ten songs associated with Lady Day (most of which he had not recorded previously) is often exquisite. ~ Scott Yanow
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Jazz - Released November 22, 2019 | Craft Recordings