This is my fourth Chet Baker CD, and I'll probably play this one more than any of the others, mainly because it is so uptempo and fun. Chet tended to be sweet and mellow and slow, and could do ballads almost to a fault. The first eight instrumentals on here comprise the original 1962 LP, recorded in Rome with a handful of European sidemen who all sound like fine musicians to my admittedly unknowledgeable ears. Chet had been having a bad time, jailed for drugs in late 1961, and he needed the dough this RCA one-day studio assignment dangled. I think he earned it. I have no idea how many sales this release racked up in Europe, or later in the states, but hearing it for the first time 40 years later, I just love it. Chet and his friends do a Monk tune, a Charlie Parker song, a Sonny Rollins composition, a blues written by Oscar Pettiford, and a pair of classic American standards. All well. The surprise of this part of the recording is the great ten minutes of "Ballata in Forma di Blues" by Amadeo Tommasi, the piano player of the studio bunch. Mighty nice piece. Less interesting are the bonus tracks: four tunes Chet sketched out while in jail. Italian lyrics were put to them by Alessandro Maffei, whose day job was court stenographer. He had done the transcript of Chet's trial the previous year, but his heart was in jazz, and he founded a magazine to indulge his passion. The songs are pretty, and Chet is in good voice, but us non-Italian speakers are a little left out during these 17 minutes. Ennio Morricone, soon after to become a famous composer of film scores, led a big band for the one day vocal recordings, laid down a little later in the year. For Chet fans, I think this Bluebird reissue is a must-have. For those wanting an introduction to his playing, it is a good first choice. Anyone new to jazz who would rather hear him sing (a lot) in English should buy the "Chet Baker Sings" CD, originally on Pacific Jazz in the '50's and issued in today's format by Blue Note, which in turn is owned by Capitol Records. The other great trumpet player of Chet's era is of course, Miles Davis. They seem to me to have little in common except drug problems and greatness. The drugs finally beat Chet down, while Miles survived and thrived. Chet Baker, however, had a talent that is worth preserving, owning and hearing. This reissue shows his gifts off to great advantage.