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Jeff Baker is a Boise, Idaho native with a New York state of mind. His debut recording, Baker sings Chet, pays tribute less to Chet than to the music the late vocalist made his own. Jeff Baker has a beautifully smooth and confident vocal style that would sound appealing singing polka music. Backing Mr. Baker is an exquisite septet that sounds damn near like a big band. This swinging little-big unit tears it up with pithy and intelligently arranged renditions of the Chet Baker songbook that downright refreshes the music.
Baker shares the limelight with all of the band members. Alto saxophonist Brent Jensen turns in a bona fide West Coast solo on "How Deep is the Ocean." Tenor player Sandon Mayhew shows up on "The Touch of Your Lips," along with bassist Jeff Rew, whose solo is short and to the point. The showstopper of the disc is an almost bulldozer abstract "But Not For Me," a Gershwin classic taken at a breakneck pace, featuring Jensen on alto followed by Rob Walker's flugelhorn, which gives way to Baker's own deft scatting. The watershed "My Funny Valentine" is given an airy, dreaming treatment, with Baker's own timbre approaching that of Chet Baker's flat affect.
The sum of the parts of this recording is definitely greater than the whole. I recommend this recording without reservation. Jeff Baker is an important emerging new talent.
Track Listing: How Deep Is The Ocean?; The Touch Of Your Lips; I Get Along Without You;
My Ideal; But Not For Me; Oh You Crazy Moon; The Thrill Is Gone; Let's
Get Lost; My Funny Valentine; Easy Living; Medley: Autumn In New York /
September Song; Everything Depends On You.
Personnel: Jeff Baker: vocals; Chuck Smith: piano; Jeff Rew: bBass; Steve Hill:
drums; Brent Jensen: alto saxophone; Rob Walker: trumpet and flugelhorn;
Sandon Mayhew: tenor saxophone; Stan Bock: trombone.
I love jazz because with it I found my true voice. I have always sung since I was a very small child in school and church. And there have been many genre that I have enjoyed including spiritual, folk, country, latin, soca and pop
I love jazz because with it I found my true voice. I have always sung since I was a very small child in school and church. And there have been many genre that I have enjoyed including spiritual, folk, country, latin, soca and pop. But nothing has touched my artistic sensiblities like JAZZ! Two years ago I moved to Sarasota, FL where I renewed my focus on my singing career and I was so impressed with the quality, quantity and generousity of talented jazz musicains in the Suncoast area. I soon partnered with piano legend Billy Marcus and his trio with Don Mopsick and Stephen Bucholtz. What a blast working with these guys and having them back me up on my first jaz album, Here's To You... which was just released on October 1st. I can't wait to see where the coming year brings me! Check out syniacarrolljazz.com