This essential four-LP box set features trumpeter Chet Baker leading his own group during the 1953-1956 period (shortly after the breakup of the Gerry Mulligan Quartet) with pianist Russ Freeman, either Bob Whitlock, Carson Smith, Joe Mondragon, Jimmy Bond, or Leroy Vinnegar on bass, and Bobby White, Larry Bunker, Shelly Manne, Bob Neel, Peter Littman, or Lawrence Marable on drums. Baker is heard at his coolest (mostly before he became influenced by Miles Davis); some of the later selections also feature his first recorded vocals. Because the Mosaic box sets are limited editions, they should be acquired as soon as possible.
Pianist Duke Jordan's presence adds some punch and spark to this quartet session, which is further helped along by bassist Niels Henning-Orsted Pedersen and selections that are suited for Baker's increasingly mellow and wavering playing. … outstanding among [Chet’s] later recordings….This is a record to give a listener fresh heart…one feels there cannot be much wrong with jazz while it is producing records like this .
Very rare Marshmallow original album by Chet Baker. Recorded at "New Morning Club", Paris, France, November 24, 1983. American jazz trumpeter and singer Chet Baker became a star on the strength of such songs as "My Funny Valentine" before his career was derailed by drug use. Jazz trumpeter and singer Chet Baker was born in Yale, Oklahoma, in 1929. He rose to stardom in the 1950s with Gerry Mulligan's quartet and then as a bandleader, but encountered personal and professional difficulties after developing a heroin addiction. In 1988 Baker was in the midst of a late-career resurgence when he fell from an Amsterdam hotel window to his death.
Chet Baker (trumpet) was arguably at the peak of his prowess when captured in a quartet setting at the Masonic Temple in Ann Arbor, MI, May 9, 1954. He's joined by Russ Freeman (piano), Carson Smith (bass) and Bob Neel (drums), all of whom provide ample assistance without ever obscuring their leader's laid-back and refined style. Baker's sublime sounds also garnered notice from critics, who had placed him atop polls in both Metronome and Down Beat magazines the previous year.
Chet Baker Quartet Featuring Russ Freeman (1998) is a perfect studio companion to the Mosaic Records set Complete Pacific Jazz Live Recordings of Chet Baker With Russ Freeman (1988). As was the custom for jazz platters of the time, both Baker and Freeman are joined by a different combo on each date. The luminaries include Bobby Whitlock (bass), Joe Mondragon (bass), Bobby White (bass), Larry Bunker (drums) and Shelly Manne (drums) from sessions held circa July and October of 1953.
If proof is ever needed that there are too many Chet Baker albums around, this album can serve as evidence. Baker is caught on an off day; his playing during the first chorus of the opening "Long Ago And Far Away" is so flawed that one wonders why the musicians did not stop and try a second version.
Emarcy released these 4 CD's of the complete 1955 - 1956 Paris Barclay recordings on CD in 1988. Volume 1 contains lot's of unusual Bob Zieff tunes introduced to Chet by pianist Dick Twardzik. The band is top-rate, the material is interesting, but with the exception of Sad Walk, not very memorable. Things start to pick up on the last tracks, when Chet is joined by a swinging septet (credited as "Chet Baker and his Orchestra"!?). The last tune, In Memory of Dick, is a tribute to Twardzik who died at age 24 during these sessions. Volume 2 contains no Bob Zieff tunes here, just standards. Unlike the cool bop Chet was playing with Russ Freeman around this time, these are mostly ballads. He's backed by a fine band and they swing pretty. Volume 3 is more of the same, but a little more upbeat. Volume 4 contains alternate, unreleased takes from the famous 1955/56 recordings.
The independent jazz reissue label Mosaic Records garnered a rightful reputation as industry leaders and enthusiast favorites with deluxe and strictly limited-edition packages such as this one. The contents of this four-LP/three-CD collection are derived from two performances during the summer of 1954 and feature the Chet Baker Quartet: Baker (trumpet/"boom bam" percussion), Russ Freeman (piano), Carson Smith (bass), and Bob Neel (drums). The two performances – recorded July 21 at Santa Cruz's Civic Auditorium and August 10 at The Tiffany Club in Los Angeles, respectively – are presented chronologically.