CHET BAKER plays the best of Lerner and Loewe
Chet Baker (tp) Herbie Mann (fl, ts – Side 2, #1 only) Zoot Sims (as, ts) Pepper Adams (brs) Bill Evans (p – on Side 1, #2 and Side 2, #2, 3, 4 only) or Bob Corwin (p – other four selections) Earl May (b) Clifford Jarvis (drs)
(Show Me is played by Baker, Adams and rhythm section sonly; Thank Heaven for Little Girls by Baker, Sims and rhythm section only)
New York; July 21 and 22, 1959
I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face (4:08) (from My Fair Lady)
I Could Have Danced All Night (3:35) (from My Fair Lady)
The Heather on the Hill (5:00) (from Brigadoon)
On the Street Where You Live (8:30) (from My Fair Lady)
Almost Like Being in Love (4:46) (from Brigadoon)
Thank Heaven for Little Girls (4:30) (from Gigi)
I Talk to the Trees (5:44) (from Paint Your Wagon)
Show Me (6:24) (from My Fair Lady)
In this album, one of the outstandingly lyrical jazz artists of today meets up with the foremost lyrical romanticists of the current musical stage. CHET BAKER, whose horn at its best is unsurpassed in creating melodic and romantic sounds, here interprets eight of the best compositions of Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner, who during the past decade have treated the public to home wonderfully tuneful and richly romantic concoctions – most notably, of course, “My Fair Lady.”
By virtue of the valid connection between Chet’s style and the basic vein of Lerner and Loewer’s music, this record, it seems to me, starts off well ahead of many other recent jazz LPs of a similar type. There has, of late, been quite a surge of albums based on the music of one Broadway show or another, sometimes for no apparent reason except that a device that has worked one is usually figured to be likely to succeed again. And even when the music rally is good material for jazz interpretation (as the best show tunes so often are), it isn’t always easy t fill out an entire album with just a single show to work with. Lerner and Loewer, however, make it a simple matter for you to expand your horizons a bit and draw suitably from several of their scores. For this relatively new writing team (their first collaboration, “Brigadoon,” opened in 1947) has kept virtually all of their music to date in much the same idiom. Although there is much distance between the Paris of “Gigi,” the London of “My Fair Lady,” the American plains of “Paint Your Wagon” and the Scottish highlands of “Brigadoon,” the songs from all these productions have in common enough of the same bright, colorful flair to make them fit well together.
Instrumentally, this LP follows the lead of Baker’s recent highly successful album of ballads: Chet (RLP 12-299), in which a front line consisting only of trumpet, flute and baritone sax produced a remarkably big and rich sound. This time a fourth horn has been added to the Baker-Mann-Adams line, with Zoot Sims featured on both alto and tenor sax. And this time there is a much wider range of tempo than in the deliberately moody precious album. There are three delicate and haunting ballad treatments, of I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face, The Heather on the Hill, and I Talk to the Trees, Thank Heaven for Little Girls swings gently, with Zoot’s tenor obbligato providing the only horn backing for Chet. On the Street Where You Live gets into somewhat the vein of Baker’s early collaborations with Gerry Mulligan, in an extended version with trumpet and baritone as the only horns and piano used sparingly. The full group hits driving tempos on Almost Like Being in Love and Show Me. And there is a good-natured, near-parody, Viennese-waltzish treatment of I Could Have Danced All Night.
That scoring, like all the other ensemble lines here, is the work of Herbie Mann, who ahs managed to provide a full sound and some off-beat flavoring without getting too deeply into unwarranted arranging complexities. For this remains primarily a relaxed and happy jazz date with much room for blowing – and with quite a few highly capable musicians on hand to take care of that blowing:
CHET BAKER, perhaps the most celebrated trumpeter of the West Coast school of jazz, first burst into prominence with the Gerry Mulligan Quartet in the early 1950s, and has since been a consistent poll-winner and successful leader of his own small groups. ZOOT SIMS, whose experience ranges from big bands (Benny Goodman, Woody Herman) to small, has long been recognized as one of the best of modern tenors and has recently also become a man to be reckoned with on alto. HERBIE MANN, at or near the top on any list of jazz flutists, PEPEPR ADAMS, unquestionably the new star on baritone, and the brilliant and fast-rising piano star, BILL EVANS, were all part of the personnel on Baker’s all ballad album (RLP 12-299). When Evans was unavailable for one session of this recording, his place was most ably filled by BOB CORWIN, bassist EARL MAY was for several years a vital part of the Billy Taylor Trio. CLIFFORD JARVIS, Boston-born and still in his ‘teens, makes his record debut here, and makes himself known as a drummer to be watched.
Baker can also be heard on Riverside on –
Chet: the lyrical trumpet of CHET BAKER; with Herbie Mann, Pepper Adams, Bill Evans (RLP 12-299)
CHET BAKER in New York; with Johnny Griffin, Philly Joe Jones (RLP 12-281)
It Could Happen to You: CHET BAKER Sings (RLP 12-278)
CHET BAKER Introduces JOHNNY PACE (RLP 12-292)
and on two selection in a collection of previously unissued blues –
NEW BLUE HORNS (RLP 12-294)
LPs featuring others head here include –
Everybody Digs BILL EVANS (RLP 12-291)
Sultry Serenade: HERBIE MANN (RLP 12-234)
10-To-4 at the Five Spot: PEPPER ADAMS Quintet (RLP 12-265)
A HIGH FIDELITY Recording – Riverside-Reeves SPECTROSONIC High Fidelity Engineering
(Audio Compensation: RIAA Curve)
Produced, and notes written by ORRIN KEEPNEWS
Cover produced and designed by PAUL BACON – KEN GRAREN – HARRIS LEWINE
Back-liner photos by LAWRENCE N. SHUSTAK
Engineer: ROY FRIEDMAN (Reeves Sound Studios)
Mastered by JACK MATTHEWS (Components corp.) on a HYDROFEED lathe.
RIVERSIDE RECORDS are released by BILL GRAUER PRODUCTIONS, Inc.
553 West 51st Street New York 19, N.Y.