I don't think Chet Baker would be rated by most casual jazz fans as the best male vocalist of his era...probably, he wouldn't be number one even for the trumpet on most lists. However, when you combine his better-than-average singing with his much-better-than-average horn playing and his impeccable taste in songs and his excellent choice of sidemen, you have durable art and a good value for the music lover's money. This CD combines a 1954 recording session with one in '56 using different bass players and drummers. My, does it all hold up well. Call it smooth jazz, call it lounge music, call it pop, even...it's all good. I like the '54 session better because those eight songs are a little stronger overall than the six he produced in '56. If anyone is writing songs this good now, somebody point me to them: "But Not For Me"; "Time After Time"; "I Get Along Without You Very Well"; his signature tune, "My Funny Valentine"; "There Will Never Be Another You" and "I Fall in Love Too Easily." Chet didn't write them, he just demonstrates how good the writers are. If you like lightly swinging love songs, a little trumpet improv in the middle, and a short list of some of the best three-minute pop songs of the century, buy this one. Chet ended up a tragic figure, doomed by heroin, but here he is young and full of promise, enjoying that decade inbetween the end of the Korean War and the start of the Vietnam mistake known generically as "The Fifties." Rock and Roll was just beginning when these sessions were held...ten years later, people like Chet Baker were relegated to cult-type followings, but when these performances were fresh, this kind of music held the main stage.