The Stan Getz Quartet With Chet Baker: Quintessence, Volume 1
Chronicling the first half of the last reunion of two "bad boys" of Jazz, this album demonstrates how, even in the autumns of their lives, Chet and Stan could still play on their feet and swing with the big boys. Like an old, weather-worn door, Baker creaks a bit, but always comes swinging back. From his valiant scat in "Just Friends" and a cooking "But Not For Me" to his flaring Gillespie-esque trumpet licks in "Dizzy Atmosphere," Chet keeps the pace and sets the tone. Getz’s slippery intro to "I’m Old Fashioned" is satisfying on its own and only that much more enhanced by Baker’s instrumental and vocal contributions. The highlights of this album are many, but while pianist Jim McNeely’s twinkling brightens many a line, most of them come from tandem performances by the two elder statesmen. "Star Eyes" finds the horn section richly playing off each other, while Golson’s "Stablemates" has the two old horses charging along neck and neck, each bursting ahead momentarily and then returning to the percussive pack before cruising down the rhythmic home stretch to a jubilant intermission.