Stereophile: Performance 5/5 Stars / Sonics 4/5 Stars
There are several Chet Baker albums with the title Chet Baker Sings, but this one recorded for Pacific Jazz in 1954 and 1956 is the original, and arguably, the best. The album features Chet's indelible vocals and sterling trumpet playing with two different quartet line-ups both featuring pianist Russ Freeman on a set of classic standards that he made his own including "My Funny Valentine", "That Old Feeling" and "I Fall In Love Too Easily". For the first time in more than 60 years, this definitive edition was cut from the original master tapes in the correct order with pristine fidelity. The gatefold packaging includes additional session photography by William Claxton.
Tone Poet Audiophile Vinyl Reissue Series: "Tone Poet" Joe Harley - co-founder and co-producer of the acclaimed Music Matters audiophile vinyl series- is the producer of this new series of all-analog, mastered-from-the-original-master-tape 180g audiophile vinyl reissues in deluxe gatefold packaging. Mastering was done by Kevin Gray (Cohearent Audio) and vinyl was manufactured at Record Technology Incorporated (RTI). The titles were handpicked by Harley and cover lesser-known Blue Note classics, modern era standouts, and albums from other labels under the Blue Note catalog.
Extreme attention to detail has been paid to getting these right in every conceivable way, from the jacket graphics and printing quality to superior LP mastering (direct from the master tapes) by Kevin Gray to superb 180 gm audiophile LP pressings by Record Technology Inc. Every aspect of these Blue Note/Tone Poet releases is done to the highest possible standard. It means that you will never find a superior version. This is IT.
The so-called Tone Poet (Joe Harley) is confident that his audiophile reissues will allow 21st-century listeners to hear what the musicians heard as the master tape was played back on the studio monitors in Rudy Van Gelder's studio 50 or 60 years ago. He believes that, in terms of quality, Blue Note albums have never sounded or looked better. "Every aspect of these Blue Note releases is done to the highest possible standard," he says. "It means that you will never find a superior version."
"Chet Baker isn't quite my tumbler of Chablis - his warmed-over Miles Davis trumpet, his prettified, June Christy voice - but Chet Baker Sings radiates cool charm and noir romance; it's irresistible. These are great standard ballads, and Baker - who in his day was much more popular, and even more critically acclaimed, than Miles or June - made most of them his own: "My Funny Valentine," "I Fall In Love Too Easily," "But Not For Me," "Time After Time," "Like Someone In Love." The bonus with Blue Note's 180gm LP, part of Joe Harley's Tone Poet series, is that now they sound better than they ever have before."
"Harley told me in an email that previous reissues have been "a complete mess" - a hodgepodge of mono tracks and redone or electronically rechanneled stereo tracks from second- or third-generation tapes. For this project, with its handsome gatefold cover and ultraquiet vinyl, Jack Arenas, the vault librarian at Capitol Records, brought out the original masters. "
"The difference is magical. Baker's trumpet bell glistens. His voice, at once sultry and innocent, is in the room. I hesitate to admit it, but they're both dreamy, in a good way. The rhythm section, while not as pristine as some other 60-plus-year-old miracles (eg, Masterpieces by Ellington), has a presence that earlier pressings muddied. The 1956 tracks (Side 1) sound cleaner, deeper, and more palpable than the 1954 tracks (Side 2), although the bass line on the earlier sessions is crisper and woodier: You can make out much more clearly which notes he's plucking. This is a classic reissue." - Fred Kaplan, Stereophile Magazine, July 2020
- All Analog 180g Vinyl
- Tone Poet Audiophile Vinyl Reissue Series
- Mastered by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio
- Mastered From Original Master Tape
- Reissue supervised by Joe Harley
- Pressed at RTI
- Gatefold jacket
|Chet Baker||vocals, trumpet|
|Russ Freeman||piano, celeste|
|James Bond||bass (Side I)|
|Carson Smith||bass (Side II)|
|Peter Littman||drums (Side I: 1, 2, 5)|
|Lawrence Marable||drums (Side I: 3, 4, 6)|
|Bob Neel||drums (Side II)|
- That Old Feeling
- It's Always You
- Like Someone In Love
- My Ideal
- I've Never Been In Love Before
- My Buddy
- But Not For Me
- Time After Time
- I Get Along Without You Very Well
- My Funny Valentine
- There Will Never Be Another You
- The Thrill Is Gone
- I Fall In Love Too Easily
- Look For The Silver Lining
Recorded on July 23 & July 30, 1956 at the Forum Theater, Los Angeles, CA (Side I)
Recorded on February 15, 1954 at Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA (Side II)