Chet Baker Introduces JOHNNY PACE
accompanied by the CHET BAKER Quintet
All Or Nothing At All (3:15) (Lawrence –Altman)
Crazy, She Calls Me (4:06) (Russell – Sigman)
The Way You Look Tonight (3:09) (Fields – Kern)
This Is Always (3:31) (Gordon – Warren)
When The Sun Comes Out (3:59) (Koehler - Arlen)
What Is There To Say (3:34) (Hurburg – Duke)
Everything I've Got Belongs To You (2:37) (Rodgers & Hart)
We Could Make Such Beautiful Music (3:09) (Sour – Manners)
It Might As Well Be Spring (3:46) (Rodgers & Hammerstein)
Yesterdays (Harback – Kern)
It's hard to think of this album as anything short of the first major step towards real success for the exciting and appealing young singer being introduced here. For JOHNNY PACE has so much of what it takes that you're sure to be hearing a great deal about him - and a great deal from him - for a long time to come.
The "introducing" of Johnny is being done by a well-established musical star: CHET BAKER, who is not only one of the top trumpets in jazz today, but also a highly popular vocalist himself. And, it is important to note, the statement that Chet is introducing Johnny here is no mere artificial device. For it was Chet who heard Pace in a small Pittsburgh bight club, and saw to it that Riverside was able to hear some samples of Johnny’s singing. And, when it became clear that we shared his enthusiasm, Chet went on to make his assistance to the young singer even more concrete by insisting that he support Johnny on his record debut.
And so it happens that the lyrical and swinging trumpet of Chet Baker is to be heard throughout this LP, giving firm and imaginative backing to Pace and on several occasions taking over a share of the spotlight with some notable solo work.
It already seems quite clear that Chet is not going to be at all lonely up there on the Johnny Pace bandwagon. As these notes are written, reports are beginning to come in from those who have heard advance pressings of this album. Among the several very strong reactions is one from Harold Arlen, certainly among the most tasteful as well as most talented of popular songwriters, who has put himself on record as considering Pace one of the most interesting new singers to come along in years!
In many ways, Pace seems ready to take a place in the grand tradition of American popular entertainers. He has the youthful good looks; he has a warm, highly individual vocal style that seems able to convey his considerable personal warmth and charm; he definitely belongs to that never-large-enough category of singers who understand and put across the message of the words they are singing. And, perhaps above all, Johnny is a most musical singer. There is nothing strange about the appeal he has for a performer like Chet Baker; and there will surely be lots of other musicians in Johnny’s corner before long. For, without being in any way a “jazz singer” (there are no gimmicks and nothing ‘far out’ here), Pace is the kind of singer musicians and jazz fans (as well as al lot of non-jazz fans, too) almost inevitably appreciate. He has what you can call a jazz feeling, but is probably more accurately described as a musical feeling. It may have something to do with his own background as a musician, but it is more probably something you have to be born with. It turns up most noticeably on songs like the finger-snapping All or Nothing at All and the rowdy Everything I’ve Got Belongs to You, or on Harold Arlen’s blues-tinged When the Sun Comes Out, but it is also to be felt on moody and tender ballads like Beautiful Music and Yesterdays. It is something that Frank Sinatra, more than any other singer of today, has in abundance. But comparisons like that can be dangerous. For even though Johnny (like just about any vocalist who is honest about it) admits to a great affection for Sinatra’s efforts, Pace is Pace – with his own particular sound and his own personal appeal. In the last analysis, the best way to understand it is to hear it. So just go right ahead, please, and listen to this collection of superior songs, as played by a top jazz artist and his men and sung by a top vocal star (we firmly believe) of the very near future.
Johnny Pace, now in his mid-twenties, was born and raised in New Jersey. He is of typically-American intermingled ancestry: Italian (on his father’s side), Irish and Dutch (on his mother’s). Interested in singing as far back as he can remember, Johnny appeared in countless local amateur shows while still in high school. He began his professional career at 17, and spent the next couple of years on the road with various small bands. For most such small travelling groups, carrying a singer was a luxury, so that he had to double as an instrumentalist. Thus Johnny worked also as a drummer – and the development of this new skill can undoubtedly be credited with teaching him a great deal about rhythm and with giving his vocal style its distinctive beat.
The inevitable period of military service provided valuable experience, too. While stationed in Germany, he had his own Armed Forces Network radio show for twenty-six weeks – a program selected as “the show of the day” by the London Times. After the Army, he returned to the New Jersey area. Among other jobs, there were frequent appearances at a local club called Billy Williams; Johnny looks on this as a most important formative period, for the club regularly used jazz performers and “was able to work steadily with good jazz musicians, such as Teddy Charles, Joe Cinderella” and many others. It was also at about this time that he came to the attention of Chet Baker, with the results preciously noted.
Chet, whose melody and romantic trumpet style blends so well with Pace’s voice here, is of course one of the most celebrated members of the West Coast school of modern jazz. Born in Yale, Oklahoma, in December of 1929, he was brought up in California and first burst, almost overnight, into jazz stardom in the early 1950s as a key member of Gerry Mulligan’s original pianoless quartet. Since then he has consistently placed at or near the top in the jazz polls (Down Beat, Metronome, etc. – his most recent victory being in the 1958 Playboy ballotting), has developed a vast following, and has for the past several years been leading highly successful small groups.
Baker can also be heard on Riverside on –
CHET BAKER in New York (RLP 12-281)
It Could Happen to You: CHET BAKER Sings (RLP 12-278)
Other Riverside albums featuring vocalists of unusual interest include –
ABBEY LINCOLN: That’s Him! (RLP 12-251)
ABBEY LINCOLN: It’s Magic (RLP 12-277)
KENNY DORHAM: This Is the Moment (RLP 12-275)
MARIAN BRUCE: Halfway to Dawn (RLP 12-826)
A HIGH FIDELITY Recording – Riverside-Reeves SPECTROSONIC High Fidelity Engineering
(Audio Compensation: RIAA Curve)
Produced by BILL GRAUER and ORRIN KEEPNEWS
Cover Produced and designed by PAUL BACON – KEN BRAREN – HARRIS LEWINE
Back-liner photo by LAWRENCE SHUSTAK
Engineer: JACK HIGGINS (Reeves Sound Studios)
RIVERSIDE RECORDS are released by BILL GRAUER PRODUCTIONS, Inc.
553 West 51st Street New York 19, N.Y.