Chet Baker - The Legendary Riverside Albums
(180g Vinyl 5LP Box Set)
LP1 - (Chet Baker Sings) It Could Happen To You
LP2 - Chet Baker In New York
LP3 - Chet
LP4 - Chet Baker Plays the Best of Lerner and Loew
LP5 - Outtake and Alternates
Deluxe 180g Vinyl 5LP Box Set featuring Chet Baker's Four Riverside Albums Cut from the Original Analog Masters by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio Plus Bonus LP of Choice Outtakes & Alternates Cut from 192K Hi-Res Transfers
Craft Recordings presents the deluxe vinyl 5LP box set, Chet Baker's The Legendary Riverside Albumsfeaturing the revered artist's output as a leader for the renowned jazz label, recorded and released between 1958 and 1959: (Chet Baker Sings) It Could Happen To You, Chet Baker In New York, Chet and Chet Baker Plays The Best Of Lerner And Loewe. The recordings, which feature such icons as Bill Evans, Johnny Griffin and Kenny Burrell, have been cut from their original analog master tapes by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio and pressed on 180-gram vinyl at RTI. Also included is a bonus disc of choice outtakes and alternates from Baker's Riverside sessions, plus a collectible photo print and a 16-page booklet filled with photos and insightful new liner notes by jazz historian Doug Ramsey.
Few musicians have embodied the romantic – and ultimately tragic – jazz figure as totally as Chesney "Chet" Baker (1929-88). Unschooled yet eloquent in his music, and a fast-liver who survived for nearly six decades, the Baker mystique has only reinforced one of the most haunting trumpet styles and ingenious approaches to jazz singing. The Los Angeles-based musician rose to fame in the early '50s, playing with established artists like Charlie Parker, Gerry Mulligan and pianist Russ Freeman – partnerships which would solidify his status as a major jazz star. By the end of the decade, when he signed a four-album deal with the New York – based label Riverside, Baker had become known for his trademark West Coast "cool jazz" style. However, these recordings – which pair the artist with some of the best East Coast players – demonstrate Baker's versatility as a modern trumpeter who could play with even the hardest boppers.
Baker's 1958 recording session debut for Riverside, which resulted in the album release (Chet Baker Sings) It Could Happen To You, offers a modern, hipper take on standards like "Old Devil Moon," "You're Driving Me Crazy," and "How Long Has This Been Going On?" The only album in this collection not produced by the label's co-founder, Orrin Keepnews (who initially objected to his Riverside partner Bill Grauer's unilateral signing of Baker), Chet Baker Sings is unique in that the nimble artist sets aside his trumpet in several of the tracks, using only his vocals – and even scatting some of the improvised solos in a style that sounds very much like his lyrical trumpet playing. In his new liner notes, Ramsey praises that the album contains, "Baker's most inventive and convincing vocal work."
A month after his Chet Baker Sings sessions, the artist went back into the studio to record Chet Baker In New York with a stellar lineup of Philly Joe Jones on drums, tough-tenor Johnny Griffin, bebop veteran Al Haig on piano and bassist Paul Chambers. The song selection, which ranges from laid-back and serene to hard-driving bop, features top-notch performances and impressive solos from all musicians involved. Highlights include the Miles Davis-penned tune "Solar," the ballad standard "Polka Dots and Moonbeams" and the effervescent "Hotel 49."
1959's instrumental outing, Chet, focuses on ballads and features an all-star cast that includes pianist Bill Evans, guitarist Kenny Burrell, flutist Herbie Mann and Pepper Adams on the baritone saxophone. Baker shines in his languid and tuneful approach to tracks like "Alone Together," "It Never Entered My Mind" and "September Song." All About Jazz called the album, "A session that allows the trumpeter to take his introspective time, encouraged by Evans' spare accompaniment to transform these standards into vibrant, impressionistic etchings."
Baker's final album for Riverside, 1959's Chet Baker Plays The Best Of Lerner And Loewe, finds the trumpeter offering his renditions of tunes by lyricist Alan Jay Lerner and composer Frederick Loewe who, together, penned some of the most famous songs on Broadway. Baker, joined by an ensemble that once again included Bill Evans, Pepper Adams and Herbie Mann – along with the great Zoot Sims on tenor saxophone – covers material from My Fair Lady, Gigi, Brigadoon and Paint Your Wagon.
In addition to the four LPs, The Legendary Riverside Albums also includes a fifth disc, featuring outtakes and alternate takes from Baker's recording sessions with the label. Ramsey points out several highlights, including "Chet's playing into a Harmon mute on the new version of ‘The More I See You' and the spaciousness of his open horn in the Matt Dennis – Tom Adair classic ‘Everything Happens To Me.' There is also a rarity, ‘While My Lady Sleeps.'" Ramsey adds that Baker's version of the song, "Underlines pianist [Kenny] Drew's finely honed ability to concentrate on his partner's phrasing and harmonic turns, and supply perfect support.'"
Though Baker's Riverside era preceded even more troubling times for the artist, these recordings find the artist in excellent form, joined by some of New York's finest musicians, proving his brilliance as an inspired original, and as one of the great jazz musicians of the 20th century.
• Deluxe 180g vinyl 5LP box set from Craft Recordings
• Four legendary Riverside albums cut from the original analog masters by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio
• Includes a bonus LP featuring choice outtakes & alternates cut from 192K hi-res transfers
• Pressed at RTI
• Collectible photo print in glycine pouch and booklet filled with photos and insightful new liner notes by jazz historian Doug Ramsey
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