Four of Chet Baker’s most beloved albums from the late ’50s are being reissued on vinyl this year.
Craft Recordings is repressing the jazz legend’s catalogue with the renowned Riverside record label between 1958 and 1959.
Those four albums are (Chet Baker Sings) It Could Happen to You, Chet Baker in New York, Chet and Chet Baker Plays the Best of Lerner and Loewe.
Each album was cut from its original analog master tapes and has been pressed on 180-gram vinyl.
These individually reissued records follow 2019’s five-LP deluxe vinyl box set, The Legendary Riverside Albums. Called a “must-have” by JazzTimes, that collection featured the four albums plus a bonus disc of outtakes and alternates.
After years of collaborating with West Coast players and developing his trademark “cool jazz” style in Los Angeles, Baker brought his sound to Riverside’s New York studio and hooked up with some of the biggest jazz musicians on the East Coast.
In 1958, (Chet Baker Sings) It Could Happen to You found Baker tackling standards with his hipper, jazzier style, often leaving his trumpet by his side in favour of crooning and scatting. It features Kenny Drew on piano, George Morrow and Sam Jones on bass, and Philly Joe Jones and Dannie Richmond on drums.
Baker released the other three records all in 1959.
Chet Baker in New York looked to contemporary jazz composers for inspiration, with tunes by Benny Golson, Miles Davis and Benny Carter. It featured Johnny Griffin on tenor saxophone, Al Haig on piano, Paul Chambers on bass and Philly Joe Jones again on drums.
For Chet, he went entirely instrumental with nine standards rearranged in hard bop and cool jazz styles. For that record, he teamed up with alto flautist Herbie Mann, baritone saxophonist Pepper Adams, pianist Bill Evans, guitarist Kenny Burrell, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummers Connie Kay and Philly Joe Jones. At the time, the rhythm section of Chambers, Evans and Jones was known for their work with Miles Davis.
Finally, Chet Baker Plays the Best of Lerner and Loewe features eight recordings of show tunes by lyricist Alan Jay Lerner and composer Frederick Loewe. Here, Baker plays with saxophonists Herbie Mann, Zoot Sims and Pepper Adams, pianists Bob Corwin and Bill Evans, bassist Earl May and drummer Clifford Jarvis.
The records find Baker in brilliant form, joined by some of New York’s finest musicians at one of the peak periods in his career.
The vinyl reissues will be available March 5. You can pre-order them here.