Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » Chet Baker: Blue Room: The 1979 VARA Studio Sessions In Holland


Chet Baker: Blue Room: The 1979 VARA Studio Sessions In Holland


Sign in to view read count
Chet Baker: Blue Room: The 1979 VARA Studio Sessions In Holland
Let us bring sexy back to jazz. Not that it has been misplaced but, in a world where a teenager with a horn can flawlessly navigate "Giant Steps," what seems to be the missing is the seductive element of jazz. We are undoubtedly reminded of the sensuous experience of the music which has always been reflected in the music of Chet Baker as evidenced by these newly discovered sessions from Holland in 1979. Jazz detective Zev Feldman has unearthed more unreleased music from Baker, just as he did with the Chet Baker Trio Live In Paris: The Radio France Recordings 1983-1984 (Elemental Music, 2022).

These sessions were studio-recorded for the Dutch radio program Nine O'Clock Jazz, and unheard until now. They comprise two sessions. The first from April 10th features Baker with his regular pianist Phil Markowitz, Belgian bassist Jean-Louis Rassinfosse, and American drummer Charlie Rice. The second outing from November 9th finds the trumpeter with a pick-up band of Dutch musicians, pianist Frans Elsen, bassist Victor Kaihatu, and drummer Eric Ineke.

Baker's music always had a sense of fragility about it. Like the music (and life) of Billie Holiday there was a delicacy and vulnerability with his expression of sound. That sensitivity is on display in his singing and playing. The April 10th session opens with Wayne Shorter's "Beautiful Black Eyes" performed as a luscious bossa-nova. Baker's tone is tender and unblemished here and throughout. Yes, there had been and would be sessions where Baker falters. Just not here. He sets his horn aside on three tunes, giving us his delicate vocals along with irresistible scatting. A master of the unhurried pace, he takes Miles Davis' "Nardis" at a crawl, but then dashes through "The Best Thing For You" with unexpected speed. The same is true of a brisk take on "Old Devil Moon," where he seems a bit sideways with his pick-up band. Nonetheless, the playing is beyond competent and the sound captured here is outstanding.

Track Listing

CD 1:
Beautiful Black Eyes; Oh, You Crazy Moon; The Best Thing for You; Blue Room; Down.
CD 2:
Blue Gilles; Nardis; Candy; Luscious Lou; My Ideal; Old Devil Moon.


Chet Baker
trumpet and vocals
Jean-Louis Rassinfosse
bass, acoustic
Victor Kaihatu
bass, acoustic

Album information

Title: Blue Room: The 1979 VARA Studio Sessions In Holland | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Jazz Detective/Deep Digs/Elemental Music



For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.



Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.