Label: Pure Pleasure / Columbia – PPAN CL549 – 180 Gram Vinyl – AAA 100%
Analogue Pure Analogue Audiophile Mastering by Ray Staff at Air Mastering London Pressed at Pallas in Germany – Limted Edition – 3 Bonus Tracks This LP was Remastered using Pure Analogue Components Only, from the Master Tapes through to the Cutting Head Many audiophiles will have (or want) this wonderful record for their collections. Chet Baker does not put a foot wrong, and with the exception of a few string artifacts, which in no way impede the audiophile-quality sound, receives a superb recording. these LP reissues are not cheap. Worth it? Of course, we’re audiophiles. And these LPs are records of the finest sound the 20th Century (and 21st) has to offer. If you see an original for a quarter in some bin somewhere, well now we’re talking. Very highly recommended. Audiophilia Chet Baker’s sad story is one of legend. From talented teenager (even Italian movie producers looked at him as a leading man) making records with the very best west coast jazzers to an ignominious death falling from an Amsterdam hotel after a life of heroin addiction. Equally adept as singer or trumpeter, here we have Baker centre stage on the horn. And surrounded by the very best sidesmen. This is is such a tasteful record. It has its swing and bop moments, but it remains largely reflective. As you listen, remind yourself of Baker’s turbulent life story. It’s the antithesis to his playing. And singing on many other LPs. There are 12 tracks on the LP. I think the CD gives you some bonus tracks. But it’s the LP where all the audiophile juice is. The Pure Pleasure 180 gram pressing is flawless. That said, some 1954 artifacts remain in the mix — a little grain and boxiness from the nine string players. Interestingly, both solo saxes, Zoot’s tenor and Bud Shank’s alto sound solid. Baker is supported by a rock solid rhythm section in Russ Freeman on piano, Joe Mandragon, bass and the superb Shelly Manne on drums. Whether sliding along or adding punch when required, these three make up a stellar section. Arrangements courtesy of Shorty Rogers, Marty Paich and the ubiquitous Johnny Mandel. They’re subtle, refined and showcase Baker’s west coast, relaxed style. No zippy horn playing, lots of silk. And the silk reflects the repertoire. Standards like You Don’t Know What Love Is, I’m Thru With Love and Love Walked In (you get the point?) unravel so naturally. No glaring head, no dizzying form, just plain, beautiful phrasing. Many audiophiles will have (or want) this wonderful record for their collections. Chet Baker does not put a foot wrong, and with the exception of a few string artifacts, which in no way impede the audiophile-quality sound, receives a superb recording. At USD$ 35, these LP reissues are not cheap. Worth it? Of course, we’re audiophiles. And these LPs are records of the finest sound the 20th Century (and 21st) has to offer. If you see an original for a quarter in some bin somewhere, well now we’re talking. Very highly recommended. Audiophilia This publication provides a unique view of the young Chet Baker within a quintet, which is complemented by a nine-piece string ensemble. Using only modern arrangements of Johnny Mandel, Marty Paich, Jack Montrose, and Shorty Rogers avoids this interplay of ‘West Coast Cool’ and pure muzak many – if not all – possible musical pitfalls that would suggest such a connection. The string arrangements are to increase the gewünschenten opulence without heavy-handed or syrupy side effects in the best sense of the word. Particularly exciting in this tour is how successfully thrive Baker and his squad in this neighborhood, where they sent grant insight into the ability of their quintet to make chose something own and losing themselves. “Love Walked In” shows up verströmendes interaction between Baker and Sims, their trademark, so to speak. In “Love” could argue about whether or not it actually is the best use of the strings on this LP, along with a brilliant solo by Freeman. Actually ranks his contribution particularly on this record among the best in collaboration with Baker and his band, the same enthusiasm is established at “A Little Duet For Zoot And Chet”. Not only that, Sims and Baker are flying high, even the strings swing irresistible. The carefree and on the other hand winding string arrangements support the cool bop like a kite in a March breeze – light, airy, and conspicuous only by its height. Tracks A7 & 8 and B7 are bonus tracks that were not included on the original LP.
Recording: December 1953
Production: Richard Bock