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4.7 out of 5 stars
8 Classic Albums [Audio CD] Chet Baker
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
It was quite a surprise to see eight Chet Baker albums, all recorded/released in the 1950s, collected together like this, out of which I only had one already in our large-ish collection of his music. Most Baker fans will pretty likely have most or all of the Chet Baker Sings tracks, as this is not only one of his best known, best loved and best selling albums in its own right, but the first port of call for compilation makers. If, like us, you have quite a bit else from Chet's extensive catalogue, most of this will slot in nicely. There's plenty of excellent material from both his trumpet-playing and vocalising sides, and the material and treatment is both varied and yet, for the most part, consistently good.

If you don't yet know the joys of C.B., this would be a good place to start, as you get the absolutely essential Chet Baker Sings as well as a good representative range of his other work from the period (arguably when he was at his peak). There's a fairly large dose of string arrangements (and not just on the Chet Baker And Strings album), which range from dated and saccharine to really quite good. If, however, you already know and love Baker, then there are really only two particularly noteworthy albums, to my mind. One notable for bad reasons, and one for good. The former is Chet Baker Introduces Johnny Pace. This is, for me at any rate, and despite Chet and the band doing a sterling job musically, irrevocably ruined by the featured vocalist, Johnny Pace. A Sinatra knock-off, he only differs from his role model in utilising more vibrato. His schmaltzy mannered delivery couldn't be more of a contrast with Baker's own singing style. Whose idea was this?

As if to highlight this, the album most notable for positive reasons is the vocal-heavy trio recording, Embraceable You. But this time, thank goodness, it's Chet singing. Unlike the Pace recording, this was shelved for many years, no doubt deemed uncommercial (Pace's commerciality is precisely what makes the music he appears on so comparatively banal). Oh, the idiocy of 'the music biz'! Sequenced as the last of the eight albums gathered together here, the position given to Embraceable You shows someone at Real Gone Jazz had more sense than the record execs of the era, as chronologically the Johnny Pace set would've come last. It's terrific that they chose to end with the far better trio recordings. Numbers like Little Girl Blue (performed as both a vocal and an instrumental) and the very last track, Trav'lin Light, are perfect sonic manifestations of Baker's ultra-mellow, ultra minimal and impossibly romantic after-hours persona.

Ironically the 'flaws' in this recording, if such they be, just add to the charm: Baker's vocal delivery itself, his extreme minimalism trumpet-wise, even the slightly out-of-tune notes from the double bass, these are like the grit in the oyster that creates a beautiful pearl (David 'Buck' Wheat's guitar is a revelation!). When I heard the Pace recordings, I almost regretted buying this set. However the Embraceable You album alone more than atones for that. And of course, very fortunately, everything else here is at the very least good, much of it excellent, with Chet Baker Sings being truly sublime. So, whether coming new to Chet, or filling gaps in your collection, as long as you don't have too much of what's on offer here already, I'd say this is an essential purchase, and a bargain to boot.
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
There are several releases by Chet Baker.
Some box sets feature 3 Albums
Disc One tracks 1-12 (Grey December) and 13-24 (Chet Baker and Strings)
Disc Two tracks 25-34 (Sextet) and 35-44 (Introduces Johnny Pace)
Disc Three tracks 45-58 (Chet Baker Sings) and 59-64 (Chet Baker Cools Out)
Disc Four tracks 65-71 (Playboys) and 72-84 (Embraceable You)

This one features 8 spread over 4 CDS.
Alan Kirk has kindly provide me with the album titles and the spaceings so I've adjusted this listing
A big Thankyou Alan..

Chesney Henry "Chet" Baker, Jr. was born an early Christmas present for his parents on 23rd December 1929 he died on 13th May 1988).
He started out on the Trombone and not only played the trumpet but also the flugelhorn and he was a noted recorded vocalist.
Perhaps it was his two stints in the US army where he played in the bands that allowed him to develop his skills?

Chet had a hard life with his Heroin addiction causing him a lot of trouble. Prison terms in Italy- getting deported from Germany (where he had served in the US Army) and Great Britain.
Not to mention the beating he took which ruined his embouchure (the position the mouth has to take to play brass instruments) and prevented his being able to play until he had his dentures and mouth fixed.

There is a volume two with 7 of Chet's Classic Albums available.
7 Classic Albums 28 Classic Albums [Audio CD] Chet Baker by Chet Baker (2012) Audio CD

I've provided the track listing to help you see what's on them.

I also would advise you to go to Amazon USA and read the reviwers reviews there.
This series has had a few problems with sound in the past.

A quick read and check there should clear this up.

Disc One tracks 1-12 (Grey December) and 13-24 (Chet Baker and Strings)
1.GREY DECEMBER
2. I WISH I KNEW
3. SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME
4. THIS IS ALWAYS
5. HEADLINE
6. ERGO
7. BOCKHANAL
8. A DADDY LINE
9. PRO DEFUNCTUS
10. LITTLE OLD LADY
11. MOONLIGHT BECOMES YOU
12. GOODBYE
13. YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT LOVE IS
14. I'M THRU WITH LOVE
15. LOVE WALKED IN
16. YOU BETTER GO NOW
17. I MARRIED AN ANGEL
18. LOVE
19. I LOVE YOU
20. WHAT A DIFF'RENCE A DAY MADE
21. WHY SHOULDN'T I?
22. A LITTLE DUET FOR ZOOT AND CHET
23. THE WIND
24. TRICKEYDIDLIER

Disc Two tracks 25-34 (Sextet) and 35-44 (Introduces Johnny Pace)
25. LITTLE MAN, YOU'VE HAD A BAD DAY
26. DOTS GROOVY
27. STELLA BY STARLIGHT
28. TOMMYHAWK
29. I'M GLAD THERE IS YOU
30. THE HALF DOZENS
31. A MINOR BENIGN
32. PONDER
33. TWENTIES LATE
34. X
35. ALL OR NOTHING AT ALL
36. CRAZY SHE CALLS ME
37. THE WAY YOU LOOK TONIGHT
38. THIS IS ALWAYS
39. WHEN THE SUN COMES OUT
40. WHAT IS THERE TO SAY
41. EVERYTHING I GOT BELONGS TO YOU
42. WE COULD MAKE SUCH BEAUTIFUL MUSIC
43. IT MIGHT AS WELL BE SPRING
44. YESTERDAYS

Disc Three tracks 45-58 (Chet Baker Sings) and 59-64 (Chet Baker Cools Out)
45. THAT OLD FEELING
46. IT'S ALWAYS YOU
47. LIKE SOMEONE IN LOVE
48. MY IDEAL
49. I'VE NEVER BEEN IN LOVE BEFORE
50. MY BUDDY
51. BUT NOT FOR ME
52. TIME AFTER TIME
53. I GET ALONG WITHOUT YOU VERY WELL
54. MY FUNNY VALENTINE
55. THERE WILL NEVER BE ANOTHER YOU
56. THE THRILL IS GONE
57. I FALL IN LOVE TOO EASILY
58. LOOK FOR A SILVER LINING
59. THE ROUTE
60. LUCIUS LOU
61. PAWNEE JUNCTION
62. EXTRA MILD
63. HALEMA
64. JUMPIN' OFF A CLIFF

Disc Four tracks 65-71 (Playboys) and 72-84 (Embraceable You)
65. FOR MINORS ONLY
66. MINOR-YOURS
67. RESONANT EMOTIONS
68. TYNAN TYME
69. PICTURE OF HEALTH
70. FOR MILES AND MILES
71. C.T.A
72. THE NIGHT WE CALLED IT A DAY
73. LITTLE GIRL BLUE (INSTRUMENTAL)
74. EMBRACEABLE YOU
75. THEY ALL LAUGHED
76. THERE'S A LULL IN MY LIFE
77. WHAT IS THERE TO SAY
78. WHILE MY LADY SLEEPS
79. FORGETFUL
80. HOW LONG HAS THIS BEEN GOING ON
81. COME RAIN OR COME SHINE
82. ON GREEN DOLPHIN STREET
83. LITTLE GIRL BLUE (VOCAL)
84. TRAV'LIN LIGHT
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 25 November 2012
This is a fabulous CD set. Incredible value. I have been a Chet Baker fan for a long time, but there are some albums that I have not heard before, and besides 'Chet Baker Sings' 1956, and 'Chet Baker indroduces Johnny Pace' 1958, Chet's inimitable clear, direct expressive style of singing is featured on tracks such as 'Grey December', the title of the 1953 album.
Amongst other songs Chet Baker vocalises on There's a Lull in My Life, and Little Girl Blue, on the 1957 album 'Embraceable You.
Chet baker and Strings of 1954, contains some lush romantic interpretations such as 'I Married an Angel', and some soulfull Trumpet playing on 'You don't know what Love is' and some interesting counterpoint with Saxophonist Zoot Sims.
There are a whole range of Jazz styles featured by the 'Chet Baker Sextet of 1957, from Dixiland, Swing, Cool, and I particularly like the last track ' X 4.31' which plunges into Atonal Modern Jazz.On this abum he is accompanied by Bud Shank on Baritone Sax, Carson Smith on Bass, Bob Ticarico on Bassoon, Seymour Barab on Cello, Russ Freeman on Piano, Bob BrBrookmayer on Trombone, and Gene Allen on Bass Clarinet, and Shelly Mann on Drums.

The 8 albums are very well presented on four CD's, with a textured surface representing a vynil album, with a general title of Real Gone, which is very appropriate.
The albums 'Chet Baker Cools Out' and 'Playboys' showcase more of his plaintive, relaxed, and sometimes amusing artistry with his Trumpet, along with Art Pepper on Alto Saxophone, Larance Marable on drums, some mean piano work from Carl Perkins, Curtis Counce on Bass, and Phil Urso on Tenor Sax.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 31 October 2012
What amazing value this is? Yes, Eight Chet Baker albums covering a four year period from 1953 - 1957. There are 84 tracks in total. Most of his best known tunes are on here - apart from `Let's Get Lost.' Chet died at 58 but left a legacy of understated trumpet mastery and a voice as soft as most of his playing.
Three of these albums are instrumentals which is a little unusual - though perhaps not, as Chet was first and foremost a musician and trumpet player.
Chet and Strings does what it says on the cover!
The introduction of Johnny Pace as his lead singer is interesting as this was JP's only album. He unbelievably died even younger than Chet! Actually, this album is quite good.
`Playboys' claim to fame is that Hugh Hefner (Playboy Magazine) threatened to sue if the album cover was not changed? This was eventually done but the original is shown here.
On the album `Embraceable You,' Chet plays & sings as part of a trio of just trumpet, bass & guitar.
There is an error on cd three - it gives the listings for `The Best of Chet Baker,' which of course it's not! A minor thing which may have now been corrected?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 January 2013
I'm givng this 5 stars because, as a chet baker fan in a minor way I only had one of these albums already. SO for me it was a great buy. I love his fragile voice and feel he is much underestimated as a horn player. If you think you like Chet then this is an instant collection. Try playing it quietly in the background when you share an evening with good frineds. Very atmospheric . . . very professional . .. .and very evocative of the fifties when Jazz was breaking down barriers and pushing into new areas.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 31 December 2012
I probably could have saved a lot of money if I'd found this before all the other Baker albums I've bought, but I regret nothing...if you are a fan of man, have this , it's really good value.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 August 2014
An outstandingly cheap introduction to one of the finest trumpet players in Jazz. Some of the albums also highlights Chet's very listenable singing voice.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 February 2013
This collection is such good value for money and gives hours of excellent music - either up loud or quiet in the background.
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on 10 August 2013
Chet Baker was an enigma. A jazz star at a very early age, he is probably mostly remembered for his spell in the piano-less (unusual at that time) quartet led by Gerry Mulligan on baritone sax - also unusual at that time. His quiet pearly-toned trumpet on every track is distinctive and attractive. His singing may not be for everyone but it is pleasant and surprisingly unjazzy
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on 1 December 2013
Discovered I already have many of the pieces on these 4 cds. However they are all great and now have them all in one place.
Can put on any of these cds and just leave them to play to the end
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