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Jeff Baker: Phrases

C. Michael Bailey By

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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 on the former to a septet, adding an additional four as a string quartet for several selections. He also pulls all the stops on his composing, having written the majority of the 11 selections included. Foremost of the original compositions are those based on the writings of Pablo Neruda ("Neruda"), JD Salinger ("Salinger"), and Salvador Plascencia ("People of Paper"). Baker's melodies are lofty and light and his voice, solid with a rich hint of androgyny, meld well with the lyrics garnered.

"Ballad of the Sad Young Men" is nearly perfect in its adaptation to the surrounding material. Pianist Darrell Grant does an admirable job keeping this recording's light-as-air approach aloft and moving forward. It is a recognition of Baker's talent that he attracts bassist Clark Sommers and alto saxophonist Steve Wilson into his creative fray. Baker arrived years ago. It is now time for us to pay attention.

Track Listing: Neruda, And So It Goes, People of Paper, Ballad of the Sad Young Men, Harbor, Lost, A Hundred Less One, Salinger, Not Cause I Wanted To, Stay Alive, Don't Worry 'Bout Me

Personnel: Jeff Baker, voc; Marquis Hill, tpt; Geof Bradfield, ts; Steve Wilson, as; Gregory Uhlmann, g; Clark Sommers, b; Brian Blade, d.; plus Blaise Magniere, violin; Marie Wang, violin; Anthony Devroye, viola; Cheng-Hou Lee, cello.

Title: Phrases | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: OA2 Records

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Lost

Lost

Jeff Baker
Phrases

Be Thou My Vision

Be Thou My Vision

Jeff Baker
Of Things Not Seen

What'll I Do

What'll I Do

Jeff Baker
Shopping for Your Heart

Album Reviews
Reassessing
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Phrases

Phrases

OA2 Records
2018

buy
Of Things Not Seen

Of Things Not Seen

OA2 Records
2006

buy
Monologue

Monologue

OA2 Records
2005

buy
Baker Sings Chet

Baker Sings Chet

OA2 Records
2004

buy

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