Artist: Chet Baker
Album: Chet Baker Sings
Label (Year): Pacific Jazz Records (1954)
For Fans of: John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Dexter Gordon
Words by Lexy Morvaridi
It’s hard to tell whether Chet Baker was a singer who played trumpet or a trumpet player who sang. Either way, the natural calm of both his talents are deftly showcased on Chet Baker Sings. Originally released in 1954 as a 7 track record, it was reissued two years later with an additional 6 songs recorded in 1956. It is this collection of songs that, at the tender age of 24, would set the precedent for a romantic, yet tragic, career.
The soft beauty and sincere sadness of Chet’s voice carries you through an innocent journey of the harsh truths of young love. On ‘I Fall In Love Too Easily’ the elegant melancholy of his delivery is layered with delicate trumpet playing, picking out the melody with touching sentiment and ease. The stripped back arrangements, of trumpet, piano, bass, and drums allow the melodies to hauntingly float throughout the record. It is his soft vocal delivery, which truly resonates.
Chet brings his own style to the recordings: a style that adds a whole new meaning to songs you may well know. Classics such as ‘Like Someone In Love’, of Bing Crosby and Bjork fame, and ‘My Funny Valentine’, of Ella Fitzgerald and Chaka Khan fame, are certainly worth noting.
This record espouses the effortless cool of Chet Baker, a cultural and jazz icon of the 1950’s. Check out ‘Let’s Get Lost’, a documentary about his life filmed shortly before his untimely death in 1988.
DISCLAIMER: This record is best recommended with a cheap bottle of red wine or whiskey... and a broken heart.