Sure, it may not be the most upbeat, dance through the sprinkler album on earth, but when the temperature rises, we all need a disc to help us cool off.
This is the coolest of the cool!
With his matinee idol looks, smoky voice and smokier horn, Chet Baker was the Caucasian lothario voice of a generation. And though his life ended tragically and far too soon, his legacy lingers long in the jazz pantheon, thanks in great part to albums like this.
From the first heartbeat bass note of the title track, this album is made for lovin’. Mellow to the point of seductive, Baker wraps his lips around the mic and mouthpiece for a musical kiss that lasts three-quarters of an hour. Whether singing praises ("My Funny Valentine"), asking for love ("Someone to Watch Over Me"), or not saying anything at all (instrumentals such as "Moonlight Becomes You" and "Sweet Lorraine"), Baker puts his heart into every note. As a result, he skips a few beats now and then, but he's always able to smile it off and recover, calling his lovers back to the monophonic mattress. Even when admitting to his summer crush that "I’ve Never Been In Love Before," Baker delivers the line with such innocence that you just know it worked!
From the Gershwins and Rodgers and Hart to Jimmy van Heusen, Julie Styne and Sammy Cahn, the list of composers on Valentine> reads like a who’s who of romantic popular song. Perhaps the only missing members are Cole Porter and Noel Coward. Regardless of the strength of the material, however, it is Baker who allows these masters speak to new ears and hearts and to use the hot language of love to cool down the sultriest summer night.