There are times when the reason for listening is that something is beautiful. What exactly qualifies as beautiful is one of the long-running controversies in Western philosophy, not a matter for amateur debate when the contributors include people such as Hume, Kant, or Hegel. Surely, above the pay grade of the average critic.
Not everyone thinks that Chet Baker always played beautifully. For sure, there were many times Baker was not worth hearing. But his admirers will tell you that middle or later Baker sometimes produced moments of exquisite beauty, memorably so. And it is pointless to disagree.
The eminent Enrico Rava has spent a great deal of time listening and assimilating Chet Baker. This recording is a result. The sympathetic support of Fred Hersch on piano brings out the harmonies that a brass player can imply, but never fully state. If Rava simply sings on the flugelhorn, so much the better. One may think it is extraordinary what two gifted players can accomplish, particularly when they work with material by Thelonious Monk, Jerome Kern or Antonio Carlos Jobim. There is one track of dual improvisation which, like the rest of the recording, is spellbinding. Choose an adjective to describe Rava and Hersch's collaboration here. There really is little point gilding a lily. Someone has played these notes before in this way? Sometimes originality for its own sake is much-overrated in jazz.
As John Keats put it, "Beauty is truth, truth beauty." Judge for yourself.
Retrato em Branco e Preto; Improvisation; I’m Getting Sentimental Over You; The Song Is You; Child’s Song; The Trial; Misterioso; Round Midnight.
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