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Chet Baker featuring Bill Evans

Alone Together

JAZZ IMAGES 38003 [75:59]

 

 

 

 

Alone Together

How High the Moon

It Never Entered My Mind

ĎTis Autumn

If You Could See Me Now

September Song

You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To

Time on My Hands

You and the Night and the Music

Early Morning Mood

I Could Have Danced All Night

Thank Heaven for Little Girls

I Talk to the Trees

Show Me

Alone Together (1955 version)*

Chet Baker (trumpet), Herbie Mann (flute), Zoot Sims (alto and tenor saxophone), Pepper Adams (baritone saxophone), Kenny Burrell (guitar), Bill Evans (piano), Paul Chambers, Earl May (bass), Connie Kay, Philly Joe Jones and Clifford Jarvis (drums)

Chet Baker (trumpet): Raymond Fol (piano): Benoit Quersin (bass), Jean-Louis Viale (drums)*

Recorded 30 December 1958, 18 January 1959 and 22 July 1959; 28 November 1955 (final track)

 

I donít suppose things get much better-known than Chet Ė The Lyrical Trumpet of Chet Baker, the album Baker cut with Bill Evans and confreres during December 1958 and January of the following year. It represents the first ten tracks in this transfer. The remainder of the disc includes the tracks the two men made together later in 1959 with a different band, of whom only Herbie Mann and Pepper Adams were still around.

Herbie Mann and Adams constitute the front line in Chet, Kenny Burrell, Paul Chambers and Connie Kay (replaced by Philly Joe Jones on three tracks) making up the rest of the stellar ensemble. One can only admire the sustained refinement, the lyric conversation that courses through this disc. Chambersí bass pointing in Alone Together, Adamsís poignant baritone soliloquy and Bakerís own beautifully placed plasticity of phrasing are individually memorable but in ensemble wondrous. Burrellís rich lyricism on his two tracks Ė notably It Never Entered My Mind Ė add an increased layer of timbral complexity to which Bakerís quietly playful fillips are a fitting counterpoint. Slowish tempi predominate, perfectly supported by the supple rhythm statements and Blues is never far away from Bakerís personal arsenal, as in You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To where a sense of space is generated, not least via Evansí inspired comping. He responds to Bakerís increased assertiveness in Time On My Hands, his chordal playing more forceful and with a greater weight than heretofore in the set. But everywhere one turns one finds felicity, deftness and beauty.

The four tracks with Mann and Adams also feature Zoot Sims, though all three sit out I Talk To The Trees. The music comes from the Lerner and Loewe songbook and is nobodyís finest hour. The musicians largely coast along without much obvious sign of enthusiasm. Only Pepper Adams really digs in Ė a fearless knight of the baritone - though even he is not his usual galvanising self. The bonus track features a Parisian date with Baker and local musicians, Raymond Fol (piano), Benoit Quersin (bass) and Jean-Louis Viale (drums) playing Alone Together back in 1955

You can find the same tracks, except for a different bonus track (again without Evans) on American Jazz Classics 99005, for example. But this neatly produced gatefold is well transferred in 24-bit and attractively presented.

Jonathan Woolf

 


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