Monday, March 4, 2013

Musicians' quotes: on Chet Baker

Chet Baker's arrival on the scene and his commercial success has always been a controversial matter. These are two opposite opinions about his singing from fellow musicians.

Pianist Russ Freeman, Baker's accompanist and musical director on his first recordings as a singer:

To be honest, I was never much a fan of his singing... I didn't like the idea of Chet singing at all. It only distracted from what was going on instrumentally. But of course, I did my job.
Jeroen de Valk: Chet Baker - His Life and Music
(Berkeley Hills, USA, 2000)


Trumpetist Art Farmer, upon hearing an improptu duet by Baker and June Christy, before he ever sang on record:


Yeah, yeah! That was beautiful! You know, Chet, you should sing on your next album.

To which June Christy also agreed, according to photographer William Claxton's story about the one time he'd heard Chet Baker before he recorded his first vocal album, in William Claxton: Young Chet (te Neues Publishing Company, USA, 1999).

The best of early Chet Baker's singing, on Spotify.

Go here for an article on Baker by Ted Gioia, with more praise for Baker from Mr. Farmer.

Listen without prejudice: Chet Baker with Paul Bley on Spotify.

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