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.
The release of the 4-CD box set CROSSROADS is the perfect package to commemorate Eric Clapton's first 25 years of making music. Starting out as a blues purist with the like-minded Yardbirds, Clapton left after the band moved in a decidedly more pop direction. He began an apprenticeship under John Mayall. Encouraged to indulge in his love for the songs of Freddie King ("Hideaway") and Robert Johnson ("Ramblin' On My Mind") among others, Clapton metamorphosed into a guitar god after forming Cream with two of Mayall's sidemen, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker.
Guitarist Jim Hall is the sort of musician who displays such technical expertise, imaginative conception, and elegance of line and phrase that almost any recording of his is worth hearing. Still, Concierto ranks among the best albums of his superb catalog. For starters, the personnel here is a jazz lover's dream come true. Paul Desmond (saxophone), Chet Baker (trumpet), Roland Hanna (piano), Ron Carter (bass), and Steve Gadd (drums) are on board, creating – along with Hall – one of the highest profile lineups ever put to tape. Yet Concierto is not about star power and showboating. As subtle, nuanced, and considered as any of Hall's output, the ensemble playing here demonstrates great group sensitivity and interplay, giving precedence to mood and atmosphere over powerhouse soloing. Conductor and arranger Don Sebesky evinces a chamber ambience from the sextet on "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To," the smoky "The Answer Is Yes," and the Hall centerpiece "Concierto de Aranjuez".
Special release on the heels of Jimi Jamison's "Crossroads Moments" which includes 7 studio recordings and 4 demos (sung by Jim Peterik) and features the singles "Dream Higher" & "Touch You There" 2010 Melodic Rock Records