Do It The Hard Way: The Riverside Years Chet Baker

£11.50

Availablity:
World excluding USA & Canada
Genre:
West Coast Jazz
Label:
BGP
Format:
CD
Catalogue Id:
CDBOPD 022

Face of an angel, soul of a demon. This is the first time that Baker's Riverside recordings have been anthologised, and they prove to be perhaps the most consistent set of recordings of his career.By Dean Rudland

It's the 1950s and rebellious film stars are a bit of a must. Mean and moody, like James Dean or Marlon Brando. It gets both the boys and the girls interested, mostly, but not always for different reasons. It is in this context that Chet Baker first came to fame with a series of records on Richard Bock's Pacific Jazz label. And all it takes is a look at the cover of our new CD to see how it would have worked.

But Baker had serious credentials. He had first come to the jazz world's attention when he played with Charlie Parker on one of his West Coast sojourns in 1952. When Parker headed back East he was heard to say 'you better look out, there's a little white cat on the coast who's gonna eat you up' to people such as Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis. The next few years saw him build up a reputation as a serious player, first with Gerry Mulligan and then out front as the leader of his own group. He rapidly became a star, aided by those good looks, and his colour, which allowed him into the homes of mainstream America.

It was at this point that problems started to occur. Critics whispered that he was only where he was because he wasn't black and worse, that he really wasn't that talented. There was a definite level of jealousy engendered by his success from his musical peers. And then there were the drugs. By the mid 50s he was addicted to heroin and he began what was a 30 year habit that made him notoriously unreliable and slowly pulled his career apart.

Many reckon that his finest recordings were those made for Pacific in the first flow of fame, and there were a great many fine recordings, including his definitive vocal take on My Funny Valentine. However we're going to put forward an alternative case. While those early recordings often hit highs that were truly amazing, Bock was looking to milk his star attraction and recorded Chet far too often. By 1958 Chet had run out from the West Coast and was living in New York, where he started recording for Riverside.

Listening to these recordings I think that you can see the most consistent set of recordings that Chet recorded, both vocally and instrumentally. Added to the four albums he recorded in New York we have taken four tracks for the beautiful Italian recorded album With 50 Italian Strings, that Riverside released after Chet had left the USA for Europe in late 1959.

If you like Chet's singing the vocal cuts on this compilation are manna from heaven. His voice is delicate and romantic, and his take on the standards Do It The Hard Way, Deep In A Dream, and The Song Is You are classics. However it is the instrumental tracks that really are a revelation. Chet holds his own against some of the heaviest hitters of the New York hard-bop scene. And despite many snide comments about his playing ability, he is very much their equal.

So there we go, the much misunderstood Chet Baker, playing the best music of his career, just as his life was starting to come apart.

Track listing

Side 1

Delivery & Returns

We offer free P&P to UK addresses. For all other territories packaging is free and postage is charged on a weight basis.

We use Royal Mail First Class for UK deliveries and standard Air Mail for all other territories, very large orders will usually be sent via parcelforce. You may cancel your order at any time prior to your order being dispatched by emailing us at orders@acerecords.com ensuring that you quote your name, address and order reference number or by telephoning +44 (0) 208 453 1311 between 9am and 5pm GMT/BST, Monday to Friday. Please note: As music downloads are dispatched immediately after purchase, there is no possibility of cancelling these orders.

In the event that any products supplied to you by us are damaged or defective, we agree to replace or repair the damaged or defective products or refund the amount you paid for such goods (including postage & packaging) providing you notify us (either via post at or e-mail: orders@acerecords.com ) and return the goods within 28 days of purchase. Physical goods should be sent back to us in the same condition you received them to: “Returns” Bus Stop Mail Order Ltd, 42-50 Steele Road, London, NW10 7AS. Music downloads should be returned to us via the e-mail address above including a copy of your notification.

You have the right to cancel your order within seven days of purchase, or seven days of receipt of the goods (whichever is the longer). If you choose to cancel your order, full payment will be returned to you. Returned items should be sent to: “Returns” c/o Bus Stop Mail Order Ltd, 42-50 Steele Road, London, NW10 7AS. Music downloads should be returned to us via the email address: orders@acerecords.com including a copy of your notice of cancellation and order number.

Customer reviews

comments powered by Disqus

Press quotes

A masterclass in West Coast cool. ★★★★

Mojo

Related products

Customers who bought this item also bought

© Ace records 2012