359

Chet Baker: Plays the Best of Lerner and Loewe

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Chet Baker: Plays the Best of Lerner and Loewe There’s some nice blowing on this CD reissue of an album recorded in 1959 by trumpeter Chet Baker and a star-studded supporting cast, but it’s far too sporadic, flutist Herbie Mann’s arrangements are generally uninspiring, and the session is on the whole rather lackluster. In searching for reasons, one that quickly arises is that Baker's celebrated sidekicks—Mann, Zoot Sims, Pepper Adams, a youthful Bill Evans—are largely window-dressing. As an example, “Thank Heaven for Little Girls” is played by a quintet—Baker, Sims and the rhythm section—and Zoot doesn’t solo! In fact, he takes only three including one on alto (“Show Me,” which is listed on the tray as another quintet track with Baker and Adams on the front line but actually includes everyone).

Three seems to be the magic number, as that’s also how many solos are doled out to Mann, Adams and Evans, respectively, while pianist Bob Corwin, who divides time with Evans, has two. Baker solos on every number, of course, and glides through the familiar material without breaking a sweat (or taking any chances). Everyone, in fact, swims quite close to shore, and even Sims is relatively docile, warming to his task only on the lively “Show Me.” But as we said, Mann’s charts have something to do with that. They’re pretty limp and colorless, and in at least three instances (“I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face,” “The Heather on the Hill,” “I Talk to the Trees”) far too sluggish, decelerated perhaps to serve Baker’s lyrical, romantic style (underlined here by a subtle echo-chamber effect).

The best of Lerner and Loewe? Well, one would need more than forty-three minutes to condense their best work into a single album. The best of Chet Baker? Not as long as the quartet dates with Gerry Mulligan are accessible. The best of Zoot Sims, Pepper Adams or Bill Evans? I think you already know the answer to that one.


Track Listing: I

Personnel: Chet Baker, trumpet; Herbie Mann, flute, tenor saxophone (

Year Released: 1959 | Record Label: Fantasy Jazz | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "United" CD/LP/Track Review United
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: April 11, 2016
Read "Fourmation" CD/LP/Track Review Fourmation
by John Ephland
Published: March 27, 2016
Read "Dream Keeper" CD/LP/Track Review Dream Keeper
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 27, 2016
Read "Omío" CD/LP/Track Review Omío
by James Nadal
Published: August 31, 2016
Read "Of the Tree" CD/LP/Track Review Of the Tree
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 23, 2016
Read "Salt Task" CD/LP/Track Review Salt Task
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 15, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

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!

Buy it!