The story of this reissue reads like a movie: Chet Baker, the James Dean-meets-Miles Davis trumpeter moved to Rome in 1962. He gets arrested for buying dope, learns Italian in jail, and records a jazz album with the future spaghetti western composer, Ennio Morricone. Reissued in crystal clear digital sound, Baker's wispy, Milesian trumpet tunes float over several, combo-driven renditions of several and bop standards including Charlie Parker's "Barbados," Thelonious Monk's "Well, You Needn't," and the evergreen "Over the Rainbow." ~ Amazon
The film is set in Rome in 1922. Two friends returning from the First World War, Rocchetti and Cavazza, participating in the Fascist Party, are convinced that the movement and the leader Mussolini can guarantee a period of peace, growth and stability in an Italy torn destruction of the bombs. Unfortunately the joys of the two friends soon vanish, as Mussolini proves to be a tyrant, who performs after the march on Rome. When Rocchetti try to rebel and autolicenziarsi from the party, is beaten to death. Fortunately Gavazza save him, and run away with the friend. However the March on Rome is made, and the two friends can not help but watch in silence the political change.
This album came about through a fortuitous convergence of circumstances. Shelly Manne & His Men were appearing at New York's Village Vanguard, sharing the bill with the Bill Evans Trio. Getting Riverside's permission to let the pianist participate, Creed Taylor set up a session at Rudy Van Gelder's studio with Evans and Manne sharing top billing. Manne's bass player, Monty Budwig, made up the trio.
Dean Martin's first album for pal Frank Sinatra's Reprise label was ignored at the time of its initial 1962 release, but it's one of his lighthearted best. As you'd imagine from the leering cover shot of Martin in a beret, French Style is a breezy and tongue-in-cheek but ultimately romantic collection of American standards about Paris and actual French favorites such as "La Vie en Rose." It would still be a couple of years until Martin would be a major seller for Reprise, but the material on the album is actually much better than his later MOR hits. Neal Hefti, the excellent big band arranger who helped craft Count Basie's streamlined "atomic" style, handles the lounge-y charts, but they're in a swank lounge style…