Chet Baker: Sings – The Mono & Stereo Versions

New variation on the classic reminds that Baker's bland, emotionless singing was the least interesting part of his musicality


Judging from the number of books devoted to his career, the public still cannot get enough of Chet Baker. Currently there are four biographies: James Gavin’s Deep In A Dream (430 pages), Mathew Ruddick’s Funny Valentine (827 pages), Jeroen de Valk’s Chet Baker His Life And Music (317 pages) and Thorbjorn Sjogren’s The Music Of Chesney Henry Baker (334 pages).

There is also a very brief autobiography – As Though I Had Wings. Then of course there is the film Born To Be Blue with Ethan Hawke as the trumpeter. Just as an aside, Tom Lord’s discography lists 325 of his recordings. Brian Morton has now added to the lore with his The Making Of Chet Baker Sings, which last year was reviewed very enthusiastically in Jazz Journal by Mathew Wright.

Derek Ansell’s Chet Baker: Sings vinyl review four months earlier felt that this was “one of Baker’s best and most popular releases”. The frequency with which it is reissued proves just how popular it is, but that said his singing was really the least interesting part of his musicality. His bland, emotionless delivery might be acceptable on an occasional title, but spread over a whole album interest quickly disappears. Russ Freeman, Carson Smith and Bob Neel all had reservations about his singing. 

WaxTime has gone the extra mile here by releasing the set as a double LP in mono and stereo together with two different liner notes. (Joe Pass has been overdubbed on the stereo version). Many of these titles like Just Friends, But Not For Me, There Will Never Be Another You, Look For The Silver Lining and especially My Funny Valentine remained in his repertoire throughout his career.

LP1: (1) That Old Feeling; It’s Always You; Like Someone In Love; My Ideal; I’ve Never Been In Love Before; My Buddy; Just Friends; 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; Let’s Get Lost (50.08)
LP2: (2) My Funny Valentine; That Old Feeling; Like Someone In Love; My Buddy; It’s Always You; Someone To Watch Over Me; Look For The Silver Lining; But Not For me; I Get Along Without You Very Well; I Fall In Love Too Easily; The Thrill Is Gone; There Will Never Be Another You (36.00)
Baker (t, v); Russ Freeman (p) with:
(1) Collective personnel: Jimmy Bond, Carson Smith, Joe Mondragon (b); Peter Littman, Shelly Manne, Bob Neel (d). Los Angeles, 1953-56.
(2) as (1) add Joe Pass (elg). Los Angeles, 1962.
WaxTime 772301