Title: It Could Happen to You
Artist: Chet Bakerr
Genre: Jazz / Vocal,West Coast Jazz Cool
CD Release Date: July 23, 2002
Original Recording Date: Aug 1958
Number of Discs: 1
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01 Do It the Hard Way
02 I'm Old Fashioned
03 You're Driving Me Crazy
04 It Could Happen to You
05 My Heart Stood Still
06 The More I See You
07 Everything Happens to Me
08 Dancing on the Ceiling
09 How Long Has This Been Going On?
10 Old Devil Moon
11 While My Lady Sleeps
12 You Make Me Feel So Young
Chet Baker,Trumpet, Main Performer, Vocals
Philly Joe Jones,Drums
Few musicians have embodied the romantic, and ultimately tragic, jazz figure as totally as Chet Baker. A lyrical, self-taught improviser with a soft touch that seemed to kiss the notes as they flew by, Baker laid claim to Miles Davis' cool, laid-back approach early on and made it his, for life. With his wan, Hollywood good looks and bad-boy reputation, Baker became the posterboy for West Coast cool jazz. In a style that combined restraint with a certain nervous agitation and a strong dose of sentimentality, particularly on ballads, Baker captured the imagination not only of jazz lovers, but of a general public fascinated as much by his lifestyle as his music. Baker's high, whispered vocals, even more popular now than in his heyday, captured the same sleepy intimacy as his trumpet, particularly on such tunes as "I Fall in Love Too Easily," and "Everything Happens To Me."
Baker, who never learned to read music, got his training in army bands, where he developed a spare and introverted voice on the horn. After moving to Los Angeles, Chet toured briefly with Charlie Parker and came to national attention later that year while working with Gerry Mulligan's Chet Baker with Charlie Parkerquartet, establishing an instant personality through the absence of a piano and the intriguing counterpoint between trumpet and baritone sax. An early recording of "My Funny Valentine" by the Mulligan quartet caused a national sensation and made the fragile sound of Baker's horn emblematic of an entire "cool" attitude. In 1953, Baker began a recording and performing relationship with pianist Russ Freeman that solidified his status as a major jazz star. He soon formed his own group, and for the middle to late 1950s made a series of successful discs that boosted his path to stardom. One key to this success was his singing, which sustained the wistful vulnerability of his trumpet work. His good looks and growing reputation for high living also fed his notoriety, although a growing frequency of drug incidents soon began to overshadow his playing.
Chet Baker His world collapsed in 1960 when he was sentenced to a prison term while on tour in Italy. He returned to the U.S. in 1964, where he made several fine albums with George Coleman and Kirk Lightsey. Then his career seemed permanently ended in 1968, when Baker lost his teeth in an altercation with other junkies in San Francisco. He stopped playing for two years, resurfacing again in New York in 1973, where he renewed his recording career. Although he never became free of the shadow of drugs, he resumed his place among the world's leading jazz trumpeters. Just before he died on May 13, 1988, in Amsterdam, under mysterious circumstances, falling out of a second story window, Baker played himself in a revealing documentary by Bruce Weber, Let's Get Lost. The beginning of an autobiography, As Though I Had Wings, appeared posthumously in 1997.
Chet Baker born December 23rd 1929, Yale, Oklahoma, died May 13 1988, Amsterdam, Holland.
Chet Baker had a distinctive trumpet style that even Miles admired, but many may not know he was also quite accomplished as a singer. Judging by the cover (Baker’s good looks were always prominently featured on his releases), the A&R people at Riverside saw an opportunity to market Baker as a romantic crooner along the lines of Frank Sinatra or Nat King Cole. This is surprising, considering his fragile, colorless vocals certainly don’t immediately call to mind someone who could sing at all. Nevertheless, Baker’s haunting vocal delivery remains one of the most underrated pleasures in jazz.
Unlike the earlier Pacific releases, which featured Baker’s vocals and trumpet playing in equal measures, the 1958 record It Could Happen To You focuses mainly on vocals. Backed by a stellar East Coast rhythm section that glides over the changes like figure skaters (Drew in particular responds with delicate accompaniment), Baker delivers deeply moving renditions of standards. The best songs are ballads like “Everything Happens To Me” and “While My Lady Sleeps”, which are perfectly suited to Baker’s vulnerable delivery and are achingly beautiful, a soundtrack to rainy nights at home alone with a bottle of Scotch. The uptempo numbers feature more trumpet soloing and are charged with mellow phrasing and a keen sense of melody, demonstrating why Baker was admired by so many of his peers.
Few singers also double on a horn, but Baker shows how successfully it could be done, blowing and singing both complementing each other as part of a compelling conception. Newly remastered, It Could Happen To You is clearly a vocal jazz classic.
The ultra-hip and sophisticated "cool jazz" that Chet Baker (trumpet/vocals) helped define in the early '50s matured rapidly under the tutelage of producer Dick Bock. This can be traced to Baker's earliest sides on Bock's L.A.-based Pacific Jazz label. This album is the result of Baker's first sessions for the independent Riverside label. The Chet Baker Quartet featured on Chet Baker Sings It Could Happen to You includes Kenny Drew (piano), Sam Jones (bass), and Philly Joe Jones (drums). (Performances by bassist George Morrow and drummer Dannie Richmond are featured on a few cuts.) This results in the successful combination of Baker's fluid and nonchalant West Coast delivery with the tight swinging accuracy of drummer Jones and pianist Drew. Nowhere is this balance better displayed than the opening and closing sides on the original album, "Do It the Hard Way" and "Old Devil Moon," respectively. One immediate distinction between these vocal sides and those recorded earlier in the decade for Pacific Jazz is the lissome quality of Baker's playing and, most notably, his increased capacity as a vocalist. The brilliant song selection certainly doesn't hurt either. This is an essential title in Chet Baker's 30-plus year canon. [A 2002 CD reissue contains two bonus tracks, "I'm Old Fashioned" and "While My Lady Sleeps"].