It is tempting to consider Chet Baker hommages like Jeff Baker's excellent Baker Sings Chet (OA2, 2004) or John Proulx's sublime Baker's dozen: Remembering Chet Baker (MAXJAZZ, 2009) superior to the real item. So fractured is our picture of Baker that our full appreciation of him is clouded by his extra-musical proclivities. But it is not exactly that. Baker's vibratoless trumpet and vocals, as well as, his limited technical abilities are acquired tastes, but once acquired are generally rewarding to the listener. It is not simply one thing, but the whole package that is Chet Baker. What better legacy to leave than a constant recapitulation of your famous book every-so-many years.
Today's vintage homage is pianist/vocalist Eliane Elias' I Thought About You: A Tribute to Chet Baker. Elias' reputation rests on her superior pianism, and beginning in 1990 with Eliane Elias Sings Jobim (Blue Note), her smooth, cool and perfectly nondescript vocals, which prove sonically and stylistically well suited for the Baker repertoire.
Like Proulx, Elias sings her Baker straight and uncomplicated, highlighting Baker's own emotionally frozen though thoroughly attractive delivery. The result captures Baker's dark and hiply sardonic singing personality. What Elias brings to the table is the breezy lilt of a Brazilian accent that increases the disc's sensuality to eleven on a scale of ten. "I Thought About You" and "Let's Get Lost" are like lovers' lips brushing one another.
Track Listing: I Thought About You; There Will Never Be Another You; This Can't Be
Love; Embraceable You; That Old Feeling; Everything Depends On You;
I've Never Been In Love Before; Let's Get Lost; Start; You Don't Know What Love Is; Blue Room; Just Friends; Girl Talk; Just In Time; I Get Along Without You Very Well.
Personnel: Eliane Elias: vocals, piano; Marc Johnson: acoustic bass; Steve
Cardenas: electric guitar; Randy Brecker: trumpet, flugelhorn; Oscar
Castro-Neves: acoustic guitar: Victor Lewis: drums; Rafael Barata:
drums; Marivaldo Dos Santos: percussion.
Year Released: 2013
| Record Label: Concord Records
| Style: Brazilian
I was first exposed to jazz while working overseas in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I would listen to the Voice of America on the radio and they had a nightly jazz program on at 10:00pm. I learned a lot about jazz listening to this program. I also had a friend who listened to real jazz by artists like Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy and Archie Shepp. On my way home from Africa I landed in New York and had the opportunity to see the George Adams/Don Pullen quartet at the Village Vanguard as well as Kenny Barron and Ron Carter at another club, and was in heaven.