Chet: The Lyrical Trumpet of Chet Baker (1959)

“… Despite all the grief Baker put record label executives (and club owners) through with his serial requests for cash, most of the people he dealt with had an abiding affection for him—partly because of his artistry, partly because of his charm and vulnerability. Riverside’s Orrin Keepnews, however, was an exception. He detested Baker. Baker was signed to Riverside by Keepnews’ business partner, Bill Grauer, who saw dollar signs when he heard Baker sing. In his liner notes for a posthumous reissue of Chet, Keepnews says he did not like Baker’s singing but felt obliged to go along with Grauer’s wishes. ‘Before long,’ Keepnews continued, ‘[Baker] had achieved the distinction of forcing me to switch my home phone to an unlisted number’ in order to avoid small-hours phone calls begging for immediate cash. Baker was one night caught trying to break into Riverside’s stockroom, from which he planned to lift boxfuls of Chet, to autograph and sell at gigs. On another occasion, he stole blank cheques from Keepnews’ office and tried to cash them at local pharmacies. But even Keepnews felt that (the all-instrumental) Chet was a great album. Baker plays beautifully as do Riverside’s rising-star pianist Bill Evans, baritone saxophonist Pepper Adams, flautist Herbie Mann, guitarist Kenny Burrell, bassist Paul Chambers and alternating drummers Connie Kay and Philly Joe Jones. With a set list composed entirely of Great American Songbook classics, Chet is a late-night album on a par with Burrell’s own Midnight Blue (Blue Note, 1963). …”
All About Jazz: Chet Baker
Discogs (Video)
W – Chet (Chet Baker album)
YouTube: Chet (Keepnews Collection) 10 videos

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