Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

141

Jeff Baker: Monologue

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Vocalist Jeff Baker—who'd just earned a degree in Music Education—took a risk and put the money he'd saved for grad school into making a CD. That was last year's Baker Sings Chet Baker (OA2 Records). Baker's good debut didn't rise to the level of top-notch excellence of his second outing, Monologue —sophomore jinx be damned.

A good deal of the credit for the step up into the upper class of male vocalists lies with pianist Bill Anschell, Nnenna Freelon's former musical director. His arrangements here, as well as his playing, just glow, with a light touch at times and a hard-driving forward momentum at others, a sound crafted to perfectly suit Baker's silky delivery—a vocal cross between Nat King Cole and Chet Baker, with his own personal, confident panache.

The standard "A Nightingale Sang in Berkely Square" here may be the loveliest rendition of the song on record, Anschell and band involved with the vocalist in a lilting dance before Brent Jensen's sweet-toned alto croons into a solo. Another time-tested standard, "I Didn't Know What Time It Was," picks up the pace; Anschell's fingertip dance down the keyboard at the end of the smooth flow of Baker's phrase "..and then I met you" is just sublime, as are a hundred other moments.

Two tunes here, "Answer Me" and Tracy Chapman's "The Promise," feature David Sabee on cello, with Anschell's arrangement a less jazzy but beautifully-crafted chamber mood, suffused with reverence, like something that could be played in church, in the muted light of soft colors beaming in through windows of stained glass.

Baker's vocal style throughout has a straighforward self-assurance and a smooth flow, in contrast to a hint of the tentative on hs debut disc. He goes after some familiar standards and some of the rarer ones without pretense or affectation, and he does it beautifully, in the embrace of a marvelous band.

Visit Jeff Baker on the web at www.jeffbakerjazz.com .

Track Listing: That Old Feeling, Answer Me, You Don't Know What Love Is, A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square, I Didn't Know What Time It Was, You Are Too Beautiful, the More I See You, Come Ready, It's Always You, Midnight Blue, The Promise, Beautiful Friendship

Personnel: Jeff Baker--vocals; Bill Anschell--piano; John Bishop--drums; Brent Jensen--alto and soprano saxophones; David Sabee--cello

Title: Monologue | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: OA2 Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Lattice CD/LP/Track Review Lattice
by John Sharpe
Published: December 14, 2017
Read I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert CD/LP/Track Review I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 14, 2017
Read Celebrating William Parker at 65 CD/LP/Track Review Celebrating William Parker at 65
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: December 14, 2017
Read Eternal Life CD/LP/Track Review Eternal Life
by Jerome Wilson
Published: December 14, 2017
Read Baby It's Cold Outside CD/LP/Track Review Baby It's Cold Outside
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 13, 2017
Read Wrong Turns And Dead Ends CD/LP/Track Review Wrong Turns And Dead Ends
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 13, 2017
Read "Faces" CD/LP/Track Review Faces
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 30, 2017
Read "Minor Step" CD/LP/Track Review Minor Step
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 19, 2017
Read "Solstice" CD/LP/Track Review Solstice
by Budd Kopman
Published: December 17, 2016
Read "Das Wohltemperierte Akkordeon" CD/LP/Track Review Das Wohltemperierte Akkordeon
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 12, 2017
Read "Genesis, Mystery And Magic" CD/LP/Track Review Genesis, Mystery And Magic
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 6, 2017
Read "Words And Music" CD/LP/Track Review Words And Music
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 30, 2017

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!