Where stands the music of Chet Baker with you?



I could say much from my own thoughts, but if you give a damn about this subject, I would like to hear of your own thoughts and listening history on the music of Chet Baker.

Please no cliche', "he is no Miles Davis" non-self thought.

And no need to apoligize for being black or white...another Jazz cliche'.
whatjd
Fabulous, as long as he isn't singing.
I really do not care for Chet Baker's singing.
He is just too self absorbed and self indulgent for me to listen to him sing.
I hear him and feel he is singing to himself in a mirror.
His emotional displaay is very shallow with (in his own mind) "deep feeling". Probably tied to his drug addictions.

His playing is average.

And yeah, he is no Miles Davis.
I knew I didn't like his singing but Elizabeth's comment is probably right on. He was a self-absorbed person, no doubt. His tone and attack elevate him way beyond average IMO.
Larry beat me to it. There's room in my life for anyone who can create that tone.

Marty
I like Chet Baker`s trumpet sound and style a lot. Very expressive approach with beautiful tone,He was best with ballads. "These Foolish Things","Autunm in New York" and "If You Could See Me Now" are a few examples of effective emotional playing IMO. I`m not a fan of his singing.I listen to his recordings often.
I agree with Charles1dad.
Fabulous, as long as he isn't singing. The lyricism of all his music is outstanding. Some equate his lyricism to be emotional, I never did. I was hooked once I heard his 'with strings' on Columbia. Now, some almost 100 albums later I am total hooked. I have some of his video discs, which are outstanding. He left too early.
Agree with Elizabeth....marginal talent at best...his singing is painful...overrated IMHO
great, one of my fav trumpet players. If you like Chet & you havn't heard Chet Baker Trio, Chet's Choice (1985) w/Phillip Catherine on guitar you're in for a treat. I just discovered it & it's been one of my recent favs.
He was one of my favorite artists.I enjoy his minimalist approach to singing as well.I think I enjoy his later performances (after the loss of his teeth} the most. His tone was so haunting and his story so tragic!!!
if you have a taste for the macabre, his posthumous autobiography is not to be believed--he was one twisted dude. also check out the documentary, "let's get lost', which is really powerful and sad. as for his playing and singing, i like much of it--as others have stated he's technically limited, but buconero's "lyricism" comment registers. like elvis, he made too many records--alot of his mid-period "soft jazz" stuff sounds like elevator/bar mitzvah music, but his ballads and boppier stuff still sounds good.
Not high on my list of trumpet players or singers.
Strangely, I like his stuff better after he lost his youth, looks, teeth, ego, etc. Allowed him to just focus on the pleasure of making music. Was he a genius? Probably not, but I appreciate his contribution nonetheless.
Love to hear him play, I think he's incredibly inventive and exciting. I like a few of his ballads, but he's no Frank Sinatra.
Vocals are a morph of Michael Franks and Mel Torme. Liked his trumpet playing with Gerry Mulligan on occasion.
Have none of his recordings and will keep it that way.
Well you are missing out. Chet has a beautiful tone that I like very much. He reminds me of Art Pepper another great tone player, but on saxophone instead. Yes he was in San Quentin big deal, his playing is fabulous drugs and all.
Try as I might, I've come to truly hate his work, and his reputation as person doesn't help. A pretty boy record company promotion without any real talent. The only thing flatter than his trumpet, was his voice. Truly awful! Still I would like to see the movie "Let's Get Lost", but have not been able to get a copy. If anyone would care to share as how to get a copy, I'd appreciate it.
Unsound...its on YouTube
Phasecorrect, thankyou! I've been searching for that for about 20 years, never thought to look on youtube. I did enjoy the movie, but I still think Chet Baker stinks. His early trumpet playing wasn't too bad, but it sure got bad soon. How can anybody listen to that flat whispering? I just don't get it.
Marginal talent? Charlie Parker and Jerry Mulligan didn't think so. As for his singing, well, I wouldn't try to convince anyone, but I've always liked it a lot, even in his later years, when you could hear his dentures whistling.
This has been an interesting thread, opinions vary significantly(as it does with components).
Unsound, I same as you don`t care for his vocals, but flat trumpet tone? Chet IMO had a beautiful and rich tone.Other examples of good trumpet tone were Art Farmer,Clifford Brown and Lee Morgan and currently Nicholas Payton.
Chet did`nt have flawless technique but he sure could convey the essence of a song as well as anyone,beautiful player.Just listen to his version of "It Never Entered My Mind".
I'm with Stewie on this one. I actually do enjoy his singing. But I do have to say that I've always hated singers who try to do too much (especially those who don't also play an instrument). As for his trumpet playing, his work with Gerry Mulligan was great, and pairing him with Stan Getz is just wonderful. Of course this is just how I feel about his music. I completely understand those who don't get him.
Jazzerdave,
It has nothing to do with not getting him. Some think he was a mediocre talent, simple as that!
How many of you who don't like his trumpet playing ever played any jazz yourself (more seriously than just in a high school band)? I'm just curious if former musicians might like him more than those with a listening-only background.
Charles1dad, that is a lovely studio track. In his early days he could play, but later on he would often miss.
Lets see, gone early at age 59 with 150+ albums in leadership roles performing with(to scratch the surface)Getz, Parker, Mulligan, Jim Hall, Elvis Costello, Lee Konitz, Chico Hamilton, Max Roach, Jimmy Guiffre, Joe Pass, Kenny Burrell, Hank Jones, Jack Nitsche, Barney Kessel, Keith Jarrett, Charlie Haden, Don Sebesky, Ron Carter, Hubert Laws, John Scofield, Michael Brecker, Astrud Gilberto, Billy Cobham, Niels-Henning Orted Pedersen, Enrico Pieranunzi, Bill Frisell, Kenny Barron, Paul Bley, Tom Harrell, Billy Higgins, Archie Shepp..

All while carrying a monkey on his back. Now that's mediocrity!
A toast to the Chet Baker completist while I spin Kinda Blue for the 150th time!
Unsound,
Yes I`m referring to Chet when he`s at his best and his chops were in good form.

Slothman,
I have more Miles Davis recordings than Chet Baker but still enjoy both of them very much.
Thanks to all for your thoughts. The thread reads like the man's life, sucess and failure on a major scale, or is that minor key?
Whether you care for him or not, his "almost blue", will get to anyone, that ever had a lost love, and haven't we all? It's on youtube.
Let's remember Chet as THE primary trumpet player of the West Coast/Cool jazz movement. I wouldn't bother comparing him to east coast/ hard bop guys. A very talented player - not perfect, by why knock him? I wish I could walk into a club and see a player half as talented as him on any given night - most of us cannot.
Love pretty much all his music, singing and playing. I even took singing lessons back in the days, learned the jazz classics and tried to sound like him. Bit less into him now that I have shacken off the existentialist blues of my 20s, have two kids, own a minivan, house in the suburbs and mortage, but still fond memories. Some favorites are: almost blue, my funny valentine, my foolish heart, sad walk, you don't know what love is. All priceless stuff.
I don't enjoy his music.
There’s a certain uniqueness to Chet’s talent that makes comparisons difficult if not moot. Trumpets tend to be kind of “in your face” type instruments, but not when Chet plays. He draws you in. To me, if Chet Baker was a Scotch, he’d be Laphroaig. So it’s easy for me to understand that he’s not for everyone. But he is most definitely a very talented trumpet player of the first order.
Phaelon,
I can(and have) listen to Chet`s trumpet for long listening sessions and enjoy every momment,such tone and expression.
Regards,
Not my cup of tea. Now, if he could play like Miles Davis............ :)
"if he could play like Miles Davis.....”

Understood Tpreaves, Miles Davis is almost unanimously celebrated as the best. But I still don’t want Chet to play like Miles, I have Miles for that. I want Chet to play like Chet for the same reason I want a hot dog to taste like a hot dog and not prime rib. Sometimes I have a taste for a hot dog. :)
Phaelon, it was meant to be a humorous stab at the OP.
Tpreaves, Got it now. Just fought my way home through heavy snowfall in Chicago. My sense of humor wasn’t at its keenest.
One of the greatest trumpet players of all time. As has been said, very unique player. He had a emotional tone. Often an equal to Miles until Chet destroyed himself.
Thanks to all for your thoughts. For what it's worth, when it came to drugs...Mr. Davis was a major player.
01-23-12: Whatjd
Thanks to all for your thoughts. For what it's worth, when it came to drugs...Mr. Davis was a major player.

Surely you jest !!!!! :)
Lets see, gone early at age 59 with 150+ albums in leadership roles performing with(to scratch the surface)Getz, Parker, Mulligan, Jim Hall, Elvis Costello, Lee Konitz, Chico Hamilton, Max Roach, Jimmy Guiffre, Joe Pass, Kenny Burrell, Hank Jones, Jack Nitsche, Barney Kessel, Keith Jarrett, Charlie Haden, Don Sebesky, Ron Carter, Hubert Laws, John Scofield, Michael Brecker, Astrud Gilberto, Billy Cobham, Niels-Henning Orted Pedersen, Enrico Pieranunzi, Bill Frisell, Kenny Barron, Paul Bley, Tom Harrell, Billy Higgins, Archie Shepp..

All while carrying a monkey on his back. Now that's mediocrity!
AGREE. For me he goes down as one of the great players.
I think he was a talented performer and like him well enough to have one CD of his, “Chet Baker Sings” (his best release IMO). I love most jazz and find his unique, laid back but still swinging style interesting and enjoyable, but only enough so to have just the one release. I did add one of my favorite songs not originally on this CD, “Let’s Get Lost”, to the CD as my own special bonus track. I also enjoyed the documentary, “Let’s Get Lost”, even though it is painful to watch, due to his self abuse. Sad.