Baker, Chet: In New York LP
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Few musicians have embodied the romantic – and ultimately tragic – jazz figure as totally as Chet Baker. Unschooled yet eloquent in his music, and a fast-liver who survived for nearly six decades, the Baker mystique has only reinforced one of the most haunting trumpet styles and ingenious approaches to jazz singing. The Los Angeles-based musician rose to fame in the early '50s, playing with established artists like Charlie Parker, Gerry Mulligan and pianist Russ Freeman – partnerships which would solidify his status as a major jazz star. By the end of the decade, when he signed a four-album deal with the New York-based label Riverside, Baker had become known for his trademark West Coast "cool jazz" style. However, these recordings – which paired the artist with some of the best East Coast players – demonstrate Baker's versatility as a modern trumpeter who could play with even the hardest boppers. Chet Baker's West Coast cool comes to the Big Apple on Chet Baker in New York. The project would be Baker's first with Riverside. A month after his Chet Baker Sings sessions, the artist went back into the studio to record Chet Baker In New York with a stellar lineup of Philly Joe Jones on drums, tough-tenor Johnny Griffin, bebop veteran Al Haig on piano and bassist Paul Chambers. The song selection, which ranges from laid-back and serene to hard-driving bop, features top-notch performances and impressive solos from all musicians involved. Running the gamut from the relaxed and soothing "Polka Dots and Moonbeams" and equally serene "Blue Thoughts" at one end of the spectrum to the percolating and driving intensity of "Hotel 49" on the other.