30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on 10 November 2008
I have always been a great fan of both Chet Baker and Paul Desmond as individually fantastic musicians. This album brings them together in what can only be described as remarkable circumstances. Chet was re-inventing himself after a spell in the musical wilderness following his brush with the drugs heavies and Paul was dying of lung cancer. That this recording was made at all is tribute to both men's fight with their personal tragedies. Paul Desmond died shortly after making the final tracks of this recording but to hear him play, who would know. The sidemen include the phenomenal Jim Hall on guitar (The CTI album "Jim Hall Concierto" is basically the same as "Together") Bob James on a (now) dated sounding electric piano, the great Ron Carter on bass and either Steve Gadd or Tony Williams on drums depending on the track. Every track is a masterclass on how to play and improvise jazz. It ain't heavy but it's a beauty.
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 17 January 2006
I heard the last track - Concerto De Aranjuez - played late one night on Lyric FM (Irish clasical/jazz station) and they helped me trace this album. This track is 20 minutes of bliss, building from "almost nothing" and weaving through the melodies - definitely going to my desert island. Lock the door, unplug the phone, brew some tea/uncork a bottle (according to taste) and get lost in the magic! The other tracks are terrific too, although I like the vocal track least. I hope you enjoy as much as me.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 3 February 2012
I normally listen to Chet Baker when working, relaxing music that doesn't require your attention. When I saw Baker/Desmond Together I ordered this immediately, the CD arrived the next day. There are a number of very nice tracks on this disc, the first track entitled "you can't go home again" appears to be based on the opening bars of Rachmaninov's 2nd, typical mellow Baker trumpet with the usual thoughtful Desmond contribution. This sets the tone for the disc. Other nice renditions are "Getting Sentimental over You", beautiful chorus from Baker followed by "Tangerine". I once read that Chet Baker didn't read music and played entirely by ear, if this is so he was indeed a genius. I've read other reviews of this disc that are less than complimentary about Baker's vocal on "How Deep is the Ocean", I have to agree, he croaks out the lyrics and will disappoint those who buy his music for his wistful singing. There is also a recording of Rodriguez' "Concerto de Aranjuez" arranged by Jim Hall, the longest track on the disc, I wondered what Baker could possibly have to offer on this piece of music. Baker's short solos on this track are another sign that Baker had a certain genius.
Paul Desmond's slow and technically perfect alto make this disc worth buying for this alone, in fact I liked it so much that I also bought his "Feeling Blue" at the same time after listening to some sample tracks.
Worth buying if you like this type of jazz but I would also recommend either of these albums as background music for dinner parties.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 18 March 2010
This CD contains some of the most beautiful jazz sounds ever but the selection is spoilt, I hate to say, by the inclusion of 'How Deep Is The Ocean' with a somewhat shaky vocal by Chet Baker. Don't get me wrong I'm a big fan of Chet's vocalising (e.g. 'Best of CB Sings','Embraceable You') but not on this track I'm afraid, hence 4 stars overall.
This set is compiled from sessions in 1974, '75 & '77 with an excellent group of supporting musicians. The highlights, for me, are undoubtedly track 2 'You Can't Go Home Again' which is evocative of the jazz style featured in parts of the soundtrack of 'Blade Runner' and the fantastic arrangement of the first movement of Rodrigo's 'Concierto De Aranjuez'. This number left me wishing for more collaborative numbers of this quality but time was running out for Paul Desmond and sadly too Chet Baker's days were also numbered and apparently, they were never to record together again.
I hate giving this 4 stars when almost everything is 5 star quality and the two standout tracks are worth buying the Cd for.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 23 December 2010
I can't add much to what others have rightly said about this masterpiece, but for me Concerto is not only desert island material but the one you choose finally out of all your desert island selections. 19 minutes and 16 seconds of bliss indeed.
What I especially loved was that it starts with the original Rodrigo, simple guitar, then moves through Miles Davis' adaptation via the trumpet in Sketches of Spain, and then creates its own sublime combination of elegaic sax or trumpet or piano or guitar floating free, but moved restlessly along with an underpinning urgent rhythm from bass and drums. The best.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 28 May 2005
The 7 tracks on this CD represent the sum total of the recordings (master takes) Baker and Desmond made together whilst appearing on four Epic/A & M albums. It is, however, possible that alternate takes will surface on other issues. This is a superb disc well woth a place in any collection. Although they were totally different in character and background, it is quite clear that Baker and Desmond liked and respected each other and it is a great pity that they did not record more sessions. To quote from Doug Ramsey's excellant liner notes "they were wonderful together".
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 16 August 2010
I first heard both Chet and Paul in the mid fifties, they were incredibly lyrical players. This album brings back so many memories of my long-gone and mostly misspent youth. Knowing that a couple of the tracks were the last thing Paul Desmond ever recorded gives the whole disc an added poignancy. Listen alone, or together with another total devotee of the wistful.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 4 February 2013
Rodriguez' "Concerto de Aranjuez" is the standout track on this wonderful compilation of jazz. On a personal note i play this particular piece on my Takamine classical guitar ,so I have some sympathy with this beautiful composition,but believe me when I say that this version by the two giants of jazz Chet Baker & Paul Desmond is like listening to the "Concerto de Aranjuez" for the 1st time - it,s that good - 17 mins of pure bliss. Buy this Album you will not regret it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 22 February 2012
Quite simply, this is the most wonderful album at the price of a (slightly expensive) pint of beer. If for nothing else buy it for the beautiful, slightly jazz-funk, performance of the Aranjuez adagio - at nearly twenty minutes long there is not a second wasted. Pure delight with Paul and Chet performing with all the panache and beautiful lyricism of their youth.
No reservations whatsoever, just buy it!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 August 2013
There seems to be mixed reviews about this Cd, but I think it's great. Some have argued that Baker and Desmond artistically were "over the hill", and it's indeed sad that Paul Desmond passed away shortly after the recordings, but I can't hear any indication of his illness on his performance (maybe the reason is that I haven't heard that many Desmond recordings, apart from those with the Dave Brubeck Quartet and the recordings, where he teams up with Gerry Mulligan, but still....).
The backing is superb, and especially the tracks of "You can't go home again" and "Concierto De Aranjuez" are wonderful, so I can only recommend this Cd.