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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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DVD REVIEW

 

CHET BAKER

Candy

GAZELL MVD 5211D

 

 

  1. Candy
  2. Love for Sale
  3. Tempus Fugue -It
  4. Sad Walk
  5. Red's Blues
  6. Nardis
  7. Bye Bye Blackbird
  8. My Romance

rec. Sonnet Library, Liding”, Sweden, June 1985

Region 0 NTSC [55:00]

Chet Baker (trumpet and vocals): Michel Fraillier (piano): Jean Louis Rassinfosse (bass)

 

Chet Baker sits in a vast leather armchair in the Sonnet library in Liding”, Sweden. The surroundings are unusually intimate. No sterile studio setup, no basement dive. His trio is with him, superb colleagues who understand each harmonic shift, each rhythmic quirk, and who respond with grace and immediacy.

Candy, the title track, witnesses that fabled, fragile horn, and some scat singing, whereas Love for Sale is very Milesian. Fraillier displays articulate sang froid during the course of his piano solo and bassist Jean Louis Rassinfosse serves up a vampy rhythm. Tempus Fugue It, Bud Powell's classic, gets something of a makeover, though the camera lingers on Baker after his outstanding solo (it's understandable) when it should instead be concentrating on the ensuing piano solo. There's a touch too much rapture about Baker in the camera work, but it's hard to be unkind when the playing is so fine.

Some of his most poignant playing comes in Sad Walk, where the tone is elegiac in the extreme, vested with a coruscating sense of loss and intimacy. Fraillier is at his most obviously communicative and chordally rich in Nardis, the Miles Davis tune.

Bassist Red Mitchell, who was living at the time in Stockholm, drops by to interview Baker in a recess from the session. Mitchell sits at the piano and tries to spark some thoughts but whilst Baker is genial he is vague about dates and places. There is a sense of flight, transience, and also of the eternally provisional about Baker. Infuriating, of course, but touching. There's an amusing anecdote about Romano Mussolini, the piano playing son of Il Duce; he was always playing the Blues, according to Mitchell, though it's telling that the anecdote is the bassist's and not Baker's. The two men then try out My Romance, with Mitchell playing some creditable piano. And with that over, Baker has to `rest'. Maybe he and Mitchell will meet up in five years time, he says, given the vagaries of travel, and life on the road. No, not to be. Baker fell out of an Amsterdam hotel room three years later.

Jonathan Woolf



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