Off Baby Breeze, Chet Baker, 1964
‘After a five year European sojourn (including time in an Italian jail) cool jazz trumpeter Chet Baker returned to the States in good form to record this unusual date for the Limelight label in 1964. For starters, he was playing flugelhorn, an instrument he’d recently acquired to replace a stolen trumpet in France. Secondly, the date was produced by Bobby Scott, the English composer of “A Taste Of Honey,” included here as a bonus track. Baker sings the folk-like melody with conviction, accompanied only by Scott himself on piano. In fact, Baker’s plaintive vocals on this tune and others like Mel Torme‘s “Born To be Blue” and Ray Noble‘s “The Touch Of Your Lips” represent his best singing on record in a decade.
The session is smartly divided between these minimally accompanied vocals–the understated guitarist Kenny Burrell makes a welcome appearance on some–and straight-ahead instrumentals with full combo including the fine altoist Frank Strozier. The rich-toned flugelhorn suits Baker’s characteristic lyricism and he negotiates pianist Hal Galper‘s originals with aplomb.
A reissue of the mid-’60s Verve album that featured Chet on flugelhorn in place of his recently stolen trumpet! Bob James and Kenny Burrell are on hand, as are five bonus tracks, two unissued. Includes Born to Be Blue; I Wish You Love; You’re Mine, You , and more.