Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.
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.
I love jazz because it’s what sounds
I was first exposed to jazz in my
parents household and in school
I appreciate many styles of jazz
and shy away from really outside
stuff. I enjoy relating to the
One of the best shows I ever
attended was 1975 Chick Corea’s
Return To Forever tour at an
intimate venue in downtown
The first jazz record I bought was
Herbie Hancock’s Chameleon.
My advice to new listeners is try
several styles before you decide
what jazz is all about!
Listen to music daily and stay open