Review Summary: Beautiful tunes by a jazz man that are sure to melt your heart
Chet Baker was a jazz singer and trumpeter whose career began in the 1950s and extended into the 80s. As much as he came to be known as one of the best jazz musicians of the 50s and 60s, he was renowned as well for his well-publicized drug habit and his status as a teen heartthrob. Though the untraditional way in which he incorporated his voice into his beats also alienated many traditional jazz fans, his talent was always undeniable.
Love and heartbreak are two very common motifs within Chet’s music and his voice carries the emotional weight of someone who has endured both in spades. In Chet’s voice you hear a big heart which has struggled with a lifetime of heartbreak but remains intrigued at the proposition of another lover. The gorgeous backing of a simple drum beat and piano along with a trumpet blaring with personality are all the accompaniment Chet needs. Transitioning from soft vocals to a straightforward trumpet is a hallmark of a Chet Baker recording, and his ability to parallel his own singing through brass is extraordinary.
“I Fall in Love Too Easily” is an immediate standout that has a bemoaning Chet softly opening up on his greatest insecurity. As always, the trumpet and piano only serve to propel the vulnerability you hear behind Chet as he sings, striking a special chord with those who feel the same way. And this is not the only time we hear a heartbroken Chet throwing himself out there. In quite similar circumstances, in “I Get Along Without You Very Well,” as much as he is trying to get over another heartbreak, we hear through the simple piano strokes and the tenderness of his words, that he is still hung up on this former lover.
However, he does manage to be upbeat once in a while, notably in “Look for the Silver Lining.” Singing cheerfully about all those good things that lie just beneath the surface, listeners are sure to bob their heads up and down happily, relieved that the pains of loves gone by aren’t dictating our mood for a while.
Unfortunately, a flaw in this album that can’t be ignored is a lack of variation. Nearly all follow a similar pattern, which at times makes getting through the 20 song album in one sitting rather difficult. But still, this belongs in any and all jazz collections.
4.3 / 5
My Heart should be well schooled
Cause I’ve been fooled in the past.
Still I fall in love too easily
I fall in love too fast