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Articles | Featured | Future

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jeff Baker: Phrases

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After a seven-year absence, vocalist/composer/arranger/educator and foremost fan of the Boise State Broncos, Jeff Baker has returned to the studio to add to his already impressive discography, which includes: Baker Sings Chet (OA2, 2004); Monologue (OA2, 2005); Shopping for Your Heart (OA2, 2007); Of Things Not Seen (OA2, 2009). The distance between the earthy, basic Of Things Not Seen and the present airy and ethereal Phrases is a vast one. Baker increases his instrumentation dramatically, from a quintet ...

REASSESSING

Of Things Not Seen

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How Jeff Baker avoided full coverage at All About Jazz is beyond me, but now is a fine time to write this wrong. In 2009, Baker took a professional and stylistic chance in producing a jazz treatment of songs from the American Christian Songbook, Of Things Not Seen. He had worked up to this bold statement with his preceding recordings: Baker Sings Chet (OA2, 2004); Monologue (OA2, 2005); and Shopping for Your Heart (OA2, 2007). Proving deft and smart with ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jeff Baker: Shopping for Your Heart

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Jeff Baker's first major exposure came at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, backed by the Lionel Hampton Trio. The vocalist was sixteen years old at the time. He'd won the Jazz Fest's solo vocal competion, and he had the word “promising" written all over him. He has since released three CDs on OA2, the promising Baker Sings Chet (2004), the excellent Monologue (2005), and now the near-perfect Shopping for Your Heart.The “just play" recording approach employed for this ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jeff Baker: Monologue

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Monologue is not the most appropriate title for vocalist Jeff Baker's followup to Baker Sings Chet. To his credit, Baker cedes plenty of the spotlight to his band. The result is far more conversational than its title would lead one to believe.

Singers seem to fall into one of two categories. The first is the Tony Bennett/Nat King Cole type, acting as a warm and trusted friend you can turn to when you are down and out. The ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jeff Baker: Monologue

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jeff Baker: Baker Sings Chet

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Jeff Baker is a Boise, Idaho native with a New York state of mind. His debut recording, Baker sings Chet, pays tribute less to Chet than to the music the late vocalist made his own. Jeff Baker has a beautifully smooth and confident vocal style that would sound appealing singing polka music. Backing Mr. Baker is an exquisite septet that sounds damn near like a big band. This swinging little-big unit tears it up with pithy and intelligently ...