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Customer reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
Chet Baler & Strings
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£5.20+ £1.26 shipping

on 7 March 2014
This is a reissue of a marvellous Columbia album that was recorded in December 1953 and January 1954. It features not only Chet Baker but the brilliant West Coast pianist Russ Freeman and the master drummer Shelly Manne. In addition Zoot Sims and Bud Shank put in appearances. So we not only have a stella cast of jazz musicians but also we have arrangements by Johnny Mandel, Marty Paich and Shorty Rogers. You would have thought all that should guarantee an excellent record and you would be perfectly correct in your assumption. No question then 5 stars for the music, but it's the quality of the sound on this Dol reissue that bothers me.

Dol has a good number of reissues listed in its catalouge. The vinyl is 140g rather than 180g favoured by Wax Time and Doxy, but I don't think the weight of the vinyl has much if any effect on the sound quality. Perhaps the packaging is more basic than that you get from Wax Time or Doxy but, in fairness, Dol LPs are significantly less expensive. The question is, where do these companies get their original material from? Do they use the original tapes/digital masters or do they use an existing LP or CD? The better source is obviously the original, but the original tapes of this recording had deteriorated badly as early as 1960. Since then even Columbia themselves have had to rely on copies of copies etc. etc.

Dol do not state where their original came from but it can only have come from a poor LP or CD. They can't have done much to improve the sound, as when I played this LP (on a new Rega Planar turntable) I felt the need to keep checking that no ball of dust had accumulated around the stylus. The sound of the horns was not too bad but the string sound was pretty awful. As it happens I have a copy of a Columbia 'remastered' CD and the sound quality is significantly better. No early mono recording is ever going to sound top class hi-fi, but this CD is perfectly acceptable.

Summing up, I am giving 5 stars for the music but only 1 star for the quality of the sound - an average of 3 stars. It would be unreasonable to judge the entire 'Dol' catalogue on this one LP, so hopefully other reviewers will be able to add further observations. At the time of writing 'Music on Vinyl' also list this recording in their catalogue but 'Wax Time' do not.
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on 23 October 2014
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on 22 July 2014
Worthy addition to collection for any fans of Chet and his music
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on 19 November 2014
the sound of this cd is terrible! It's completely distorted!
It's a pity because the music is brilliant...
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on 22 April 2012
This really is a lovely album by Chet Baker; I think most people would like it whether they are jazz fans or not. Lovely string arrangements, and the playing is great by all involved. Chet really sounds fantastic on this. He truly was a great lyrical trumpet player, with a lovely tone. This album certainly displays that. Chet, in his prime.
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on 8 April 2010
This album is a very pleasing offering from 1953 of popular tunes and original numbers with inspired arrangements for strings and a swing ensemble of celebrated jazz musicians including Chet Baker, 'Zoot' Sims and Russ Freeman.

Although rightly renowned as one of the great 'Jazz' trumpeters Chet Baker was not a purist. His brand of musicianship was not to be confined or contained within a genre label be it Jazz, Popular or whatever. Chet's main concern of 'reaching people' through his music led him to diversify, presenting his instrumental and vocal skills in different musical wrappings like the sumptuous string arrangements on this collection of tunes.

Although there is no singing Chet's trumpet mirrors his voice on romantic numbers like 'You better Go Now'. On other numbers the Jazz ensemble takes the lead as in 'Love' and in the middle of the dreamy 'Love Walked In' for instance.

It all adds up to an album of very enjoyable music with outstanding contributions from all concerned. Highly recommended even if you're not a C.B. fan!
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