Perhaps the final recording from the legendary Chet Baker, a true genius.
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
The life and times of the James Dean of trumpet players in Chet Baker is largely a Hollywood film come to life. Always just slightly ahead of his time this is the first and sadly his last jazz&poetry release. Along side Norwegian poet Jan Erik Vold we fine Baker is fine form with a melancholy voice that can still shift dynamics on the fly and further proof when in the appropriate physical condition his performances are still light years ahead of his contemporaries today.
Jan Erik Vold was no stranger in working along side jazz musicians having read his poetry along side such greats as Jan Garbarek. Keeping in mind this release was recorded in Paris in 1988, it would be some twenty years later in the United States that such as esoteric presentation would be common place. One could argue some of the beatnik presentations from the mid to late 1960's however these attempts pail in comparison to two masters of their craft joining forces for a duet of sorts that is still largely overlooked as a viable presentation today. Jazz in the United States went commercial, big business was the rule and not the exception and what America lost in creativity the Europeans gained in artistic integrity. Not much has changed.
As a lyrical player, Chet Baker was perhaps the best trumpet player the world of improvisational music has ever known. The pairing with poet Vold was a natural and a stroke of genius. There are some accounts that have two Italian releases from Baker as his last recorded work but these were all done within an extremely short span of each other. There are trumpet players today that are master technicians and wow audiences on a global scale but they lack one very important quality, soul. Chet Baker invented soul.
Tracks: A New Meeting; In Memory Of; The Ballad Of Buttersmile; That Was Yesterday; I Look; That Fact No Birds Sing; Elk; Wigwam; The Bird From Kapingamarangi; Six Frantics; Koan For A Cultural Bureaucrat; The Pine Cone Song; The Scent Of Ginger Flowers; He Burned, Because He Burned; No Words, Fire Island.
Personnel: Jan Erik Vold: Voice; Chet Baker: Trumpet, Vocal (11); Philip Catherine: Guitar; Egil Kapstad: Piano; Terje Venaas: Bass