All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

91

The Leif Arntzen Band: Channeling Chet

By

Sign in to view read count
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.

Title: Channeling Chet | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Gwendoline Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To CD/LP/Track Review
You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 24, 2018
Read We Out Here CD/LP/Track Review
We Out Here
by Chris May
Published: February 24, 2018
Read Best of the Bootlegs 2017 CD/LP/Track Review
Best of the Bootlegs 2017
by Doug Collette
Published: February 24, 2018
Read The Asylum Years CD/LP/Track Review
The Asylum Years
by Doug Collette
Published: February 24, 2018
Read Solo Contra CD/LP/Track Review
Solo Contra
by Daniel Barbiero
Published: February 24, 2018
Read Ellipse CD/LP/Track Review
Ellipse
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 23, 2018
Read "Heart Love" CD/LP/Track Review Heart Love
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 12, 2018
Read "Dance of Time" CD/LP/Track Review Dance of Time
by Jeff Winbush
Published: May 26, 2017
Read "Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets" CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read "Solo a Genova" CD/LP/Track Review Solo a Genova
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 18, 2018
Read "Blueberry Ash" CD/LP/Track Review Blueberry Ash
by Barry O'Sullivan
Published: August 6, 2017
Read "Alfa" CD/LP/Track Review Alfa
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 10, 2017