91

The Leif Arntzen Band: Channeling Chet

By

Sign in to view read count
The Leif Arntzen Band: Channeling Chet In pursuing the musical spirit of Chet Baker, Canadian trumpeter/vocalist Leif Arntzen and his group take on a dozen compositions almost entirely associated with the late icon. Does the success of this album depend upon just how close Arntzen gets in emulating Baker? To my mind, that is not the issue.

Arntzen is a good player, and his instrumental style is not that closely associated with Baker's. Since many of these tunes are performed as ballads, Leif Arntzen does get to play them in an atmospheric fashion, but I wouldn't associate the trumpet work per se with Baker. Arntzen is a bopper and a fluent one. The closest he gets is on Russ Freeman's mid-'50s swinger "Happy Little Sunbeam," a favorite of Chet's during his Pacific Jazz period, in which Arntzen matches the punchy up-tempo Baker persona.

What really closes this gap is Arntzen's vocals, which make full use of the song's verses (Baker rarely used them). Arntzen's own voice is much better than Baker's, and I just don't know if he is holding back in order to get close to the Baker vocal style. While tunes like "Do it the Hard Way," "Silver Lining" and "It Could Happen To You" are accurately recreated from the period recordings, the casual listener would probably find a close affinity to the originals. Yet Baker's vocals, considered heartbreaking or effete (choose your preference) are not entirely matched.

That's not meant to say "close but no cigar." I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this session for its own merits. The interaction, especially the work of guitarist Keith Ganz, is especially commendable, although I can't recall Baker working with a guitarist during the 1950s. Having stepped in my own trap, permit me to rephrase that last thought.

It is not important here to duplicate the voice or instrumentation of Chet Baker. What does count is how enjoyable this album is, regardless of comparisons.

Visit Leif Arntzen on the web.

Track Listing: Autumn Leaves; My Funny Valentine; Happy Little Sunbeam; Silver Lining; I Can't Get Started; Do It The Hard Way; My Ideal; Playpen; Everything Happens to Me; Jumpin' Off A Clef; You're Driving Me Crazy; It Could Happen To You.

Personnel: Leif Arntzen: trumpet, vocals; Will Woodard: bass; Keith Ganz: electric guitar; Vito Leszcak: drums.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Gwendoline Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Speechless CD/LP/Track Review Speechless
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Holiday On Fire CD/LP/Track Review Holiday On Fire
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Calvins Toboggan CD/LP/Track Review Calvins Toboggan
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Silent Light CD/LP/Track Review Silent Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 27, 2017
Read PausaLive CD/LP/Track Review PausaLive
by Patrick Keyes
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Adam's Apple CD/LP/Track Review Adam's Apple
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 26, 2017
Read "Reliquia" CD/LP/Track Review Reliquia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 30, 2016
Read "Bombogenic" CD/LP/Track Review Bombogenic
by Dave Wayne
Published: May 21, 2016
Read "Lost Signals" CD/LP/Track Review Lost Signals
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 25, 2016
Read "Like, Strange" CD/LP/Track Review Like, Strange
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 27, 2017
Read "Forgive and Forget" CD/LP/Track Review Forgive and Forget
by Edward Blanco
Published: January 9, 2017
Read "Solstice" CD/LP/Track Review Solstice
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 25, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!