Ben Baker is a man-child who lives on his friend's couch getting high. His friend, Steve Dallas, is a moderately successful weather reporter who is living a superficial life. When Ben receives word that his father has died, Steve drives him home and they re-connect with Ben's successful and driven sister Terri and hippie step-mother Angela who is the same age as they are. The reading of the will drives Ben to come up with a new purpose in life, but those around him don't prove to be very supportive, and then they all re-examine their own life.
This outstanding DVD, recorded live at the Funkhaus, Hannover for a TV broadcast, on December 14, 1972, not only gives us the opportunity to listen to Webster, but far more rarely, to see him in performance, exquisitely backed by the Oscar Peterson Trio featuring the late Danish bassist Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen & Tony Inzalaco, drums.
Webster and Peterson played together many times, and the tenor saxophonist often said that Oscar was his favorite accompanist.
Mississippi Delta Dues is a complete departure from Mickey Baker's landmark 1950s electric guitar work for Ray Charles and others. With acoustic bottleneck specialist Stefan Grossman at his side and surprisingly backed by the London Strings Orchestra, the talented guitarist covers a variety of tunes by long-dead bluesmen. Excluding the bonus tracks, this was previously released as House of the Blues, Vol. 5 on the Blue Star label.
The quality of Chet Baker's product was so varied during the last decade or more of his life that recording sessions varied markedly. For this "remixed version" of Mr. B Baker sounds a tad tired, though his chops are in fine form. The studio recording captures the trumpeter with highly sympathetic and self-effacing pianist Michel Grallier and bassist Ricardo Del Fra, both of whom engage in the leader's brand of sensitivity. There are no vocals by the trumpeter, but plenty of improvising. The interesting tune selection features a few songs played often by Baker (such as Wayne Shorter's "Dolphin Dance" and Horace Silver's "Strollin'"), but several that are not associated with him at all (Grallier's "White Blues" and his gorgeous "Father X-mas," to name a couple). There is a sadness permeating the trumpeter's sound throughout, exacerbated by the lazy, sometimes sluggish, tempos. A deep and touching beauty can be felt, marking this as one of Chet's best from the period.