News of an unreleased 1979 session by Chet Baker

March 31st, 2023

.

.

 

 I don’t often share press releases, but news of a previously unreleased set of studio performances recorded in Holland in 1979 by legendary trumpeter Chet Baker is worthy of attention.

The tributes of Chet within the release from trumpeters Randy Brecker and Enrico Rava – both heavily influenced by him – are informative and lovely and reason enough to read this press release.  Brecker said that Chet “got to the heart of the instrument like nobody else,” while Rava says the trumpeter’s recordings with Gerry Mulligan were “my introduction to modern jazz. It was so beautiful, but also easy to understand. For a European, it had the logic of a Bach fugue with the soul of jazz….Chet created pure beauty.”

This entire release – including the photography – was supplied by the offices of Ann Braithwaite / Braithwaite & Katz Communications.

-Joe

.

.

___

.

.

 

 

.

ARCHIVAL LABEL JAZZ DETECTIVE TO ISSUE  BLUE ROOM,  AN UNRELEASED TREASURE BY TRUMPETER CHET BAKER, AS A LIMITED TWO-LP SET ON RECORD STORE DAY, APRIL 22

.

Jazz Detective, the label founded in 2022 by GRAMMY-nominated archival producer Zev Feldman, will release Blue Room: The 1979 VARA Studio Sessions in Holland, a superlative, previously unreleased set of studio performances recorded in Holland by legendary trumpeter  Chet Baker, as a limited two-LP set on Record Store Day April 22. The package will be issued as a two-CD set and digital download on April 28.

The collection — co-produced by Feldman and Frank Jochemsen and released in partnership with Elemental Music — comprises a pair of brilliantly played dates cut for Dutch radio KRO-NCRV in Hilversum, the Netherlands, by producers Edwin Rutten and the late Lex Lammen in 1979: an April 10 session with pianist Phil Markowitz, bassist Jean-Louis Rassinfosse, and drummer Charles Rice, and a November 9 session with pianist Frans Elsen, bassist Victor Kaihatu, and drummer Eric Ineke. Both occasions found Baker playing (and, on three tracks, singing) in exceptional form.

Blue Room’s extensive booklet includes an overview by Dutch journalist Jeroen de Valk; essays by Feldman, Jochemsen and Rutten; interviews with sidemen Markowitz, Rassinfosse, and Ineke; and tributes from trumpeters Randy Brecker and Enrico Rava and pianist Enrico Pieranunzi. The collection is illustrated with photos by Veryl Oakland, Jean-Pierre Leloir, Christian Rose and others. The package was mastered for vinyl by the great engineer Bernie Grundman and Dutch engineer Marc Broer.

The album succeeds Jazz Detective’s inaugural offerings, two volumes of widely-praised live performances by pianist Ahmad Jamal, issued as  Emerald City Nights  on Record Store Day’s Black Friday last year. Feldman — who produced the Chet Baker Trio’s  Live in Paris  for Elemental Music last year for label partners/executive producers Jordi Soley and Carlos Agustin Calembert  — previously joined with Jochemsen to explore the Dutch archives for Bill Evans’  Behind the Dikes  (Elemental Music, 2021)  and  Another Time: The Hilversum Concert  (Resonance Records, 2017)  and Sonny Rollins’  Rollins in Holland  (Resonance Records, 2020).

Feldman says of the present package, “It was thrilling to find these two sessions where we can hear Chet in fantastic form with a great cast of supporting musicians. It represents a welcome addition to Chet’s discography, as he spent much of his time in Europe; a delightful find that we all felt strongly deserved a chance to see the light of day.”

Jochemsen — who unearthed the ’79 sessions on a tip from radio producer Lex Lammen, who supplied the researcher with detailed notes before his death in 2018 — says, “These two sessions by Chet Baker were both recorded in 1979 in brilliant stereo for the radio program ‘Nine O’Clock Jazz.’ As if this wasn’t enough, the music was recorded in the fantastic VARA studio 2 by the brilliant technician Jim Rip and, moreover, all of this music is of high artistic quality and has never been released before!”

Rutten, who offers a track-by-track look at both ’79 recording sessions, recalls fondly, “The beauty of being a jazz producer is that you can give yourself birthday presents even when it’s not your birthday. Gifts in the form of the best jazz from the Netherlands and from way beyond….The first tones [of Baker’s version of “Nardis”] started unwrapping my birthday present.”

Baker’s sidemen Markowitz, Rassinfosse, and Ineke reflect on the sometimes challenging task of supporting the notoriously eccentric Baker, but all walked away from the experience impressed by the high level of his performances.

“It was an incredible honor to play with him,” says Markowitz, who supplied masterful support and solos. “I’m grateful for the lessons I learned with him back then…This recording is really great. Chet Baker’s fans are going to be absolutely thrilled because he sounds unbelievable on this recording.”

His session partner Rassinfosse, who worked behind Baker from 1976 to 1985, adds, “Chet’s playing is amazing on these tapes. He was in very good shape. He had good chops on these recordings….Being able to record with Chet Baker was an honor. I learned half of what I know in music through Chet Baker.”

Both Brecker and Rava offer thoughts on the deep influence Baker’s playing had on their own styles with his acute melodic sense and economy of expression. Brecker, who studied Baker’s recording of “My Funny Valentine” when he was learning to play, says, “Boy, he got to the heart of the instrument like nobody else. You hear him and you want to take everything from his playing, his whole conception, his sound, his melodic content. He was really an improviser. He played off the melody and he played what he heard. To this day, I try to use all those elements. I try to keep him and five or six other trumpet players in the back of my mind when I play. I especially try to concentrate on playing less, rather than more. I am constantly using his example to try to get to the core of the matter, get to the essence.”

Rava says the trumpeter’s recordings with Gerry Mulligan were “my introduction to modern jazz. It was so beautiful, but also easy to understand. For a European, it had the logic of a Bach fugue with the soul of jazz….Chet created pure beauty. Doing what he did, everyone loved him. There was no way you could escape it. He was totally committed. He played music as if it was his last night in this world. Every note he played was essential. He taught everybody not to play too many notes; to play only the necessary notes.”

Rava’s countryman Pieranunzi, who backed the musician on his Italian dates of 1979, says, “When I met Chet, everything turned upside down. I saw I had to cut to the essentials because Chet’s phrasing was so essential, so amazingly lyrical, musical, smart, logical. I began to feel that something was wrong with my playing. I had to change everything. I had to really go toward what was truly essential.”

Summing up Baker’s impact in his overview, writer de Valk says, “Almost 35 years after his passing, Chet Baker continues to reach our hearts and our heads. He touches our hearts with his mellow sound and melodic approach and enters our heads with his adventurous improvisations.”

.

This entire release – including the photography – was supplied by the offices of Ann Braithwaite / Braithwaite & Katz Communications.

.

.

___

.

.

Click here  to subscribe to the quarterly  Jerry Jazz Musician  newsletter  (it’s free)

Click here  to help support the ongoing publishing efforts of  Jerry Jazz Musician  (thank you!)

.

.

.

Share this:

One comments on “News of an unreleased 1979 session by Chet Baker”

Comment on this article:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

In This Issue

"Nina" by Marsha Hammel
A Collection of Jazz Poetry — Winter, 2024 Edition...One-third of the Winter, 2024 collection of jazz poetry is made up of poets who have only come to my attention since the publication of the Summer, 2023 collection. What this says about jazz music and jazz poetry – and this community – is that the connection between the two art forms is inspirational and enduring, and that poets are finding a place for their voice within the pages of this website. (Featuring the art of Marsha Hammel)

The Sunday Poem

photo by Mel Levine/pinelife, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
“Lady Day and Prez” by Henry Wolstat

Click here to read previous editions of The Sunday Poem

Poetry

Proceeding From Behind: A collection of poems grounded in the rhythmic, relating to the remarkable, by Terrance Underwood...A relaxed, familiar comfort emerges from the poet Terrance Underwood’s language of intellectual acuity, wit, and space – a feeling similar to one gets while listening to Monk, or Jamal, or Miles. I have long wanted to share his gifts as a poet on an expanded platform, and this 33-poem collection – woven among his audio readings, music he considers significant to his story, and brief personal comments – fulfills my desire to do so.

Publisher’s Notes

photo by Rhonda Dorsett
A very brief three-dot update…Where I’ve been, and an update on what is coming up on Jerry Jazz Musician

Poetry

Photographer uncredited, but the photo was almost certainly taken by Chuck Stewart. Published by ABC/Impulse! Records.. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
“And I’m Not Even Here” – a poem by Connie Johnson

Click here to read more poetry published on Jerry Jazz Musician

Essay

"Lester Leaps In" by Tad Richards
"Jazz and American Poetry," an essay by Tad Richards...In an essay that first appeared in the Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Poetry in 2005, Tad Richards - a prolific visual artist, poet, novelist, and nonfiction writer who has been active for over four decades – writes about the history of the connection of jazz and American poetry.

Interview

photo of Pepper Adams/courtesy of Pepper Adams Estate
Interview with Gary Carner, author of Pepper Adams: Saxophone Trailblazer...The author speaks with Bob Hecht about his book and his decades-long dedication to the genius of Pepper Adams, the stellar baritone saxophonist whose hard-swinging bebop style inspired many of the top-tier modern baritone players.

Click here to read more interviews published on Jerry Jazz Musician

Poetry

Three poets and Sketches of Spain

Interview

IISG, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Interview with Judith Tick, author of Becoming Ella Fitzgerald: The Jazz Singer Who Transformed American Song...The author discusses her book, a rich, emotionally stirring, exceptional work that explores every element of Ella’s legacy in great depth, reminding readers that she was not only a great singing artist, but also a musical visionary and social activist.

Trading Fours with Douglas Cole

Trading Fours with Douglas Cole is an occasional series of the writer’s poetic interpretations of jazz recordings and film. This edition is influenced by Stillpoint, the 2021 album by Zen practitioner Barrett Martin

Review

Jason Innocent, on “3”, Abdullah Ibrahim’s latest album... Album reviews are rarely published on Jerry Jazz Musician, but Jason Innocent’s experience with the pianist Abdullah Ibrahim’s new recording captures the essence of this artist’s creative brilliance.

Short Fiction

Christerajet, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Short Fiction Contest-winning story #64 — “The Old Casino” by J.B. Marlow...The author's award-winning story takes place over the course of a young man's life, looking at all the women he's loved and how the presence of a derelict building informs those relationships.

Click here to read more short fiction published on Jerry Jazz Musician

Book Excerpt

Book excerpt from Jazz with a Beat: Small Group Swing 1940 – 1960, by Tad Richards

Click here to read more book excerpts published on Jerry Jazz Musician

Poetry

"Jazz Trio" by Samuel Dixon
A collection of jazz haiku, Vol. 2...The 19 poets included in this collection effectively share their reverence for jazz music and its culture with passion and brevity.

Jazz History Quiz #170

photo of Dexter Gordon by Brian McMillen
This bassist played with (among others) Charlie Parker, Erroll Garner, Nat King Cole and Dexter Gordon (pictured), was one of the earliest modern jazz tuba soloists, and was the only player to turn down offers to join both Duke Ellington’s Orchestra and the Louis Armstrong All-Stars. Who is he?

Community

photo via Picryl.com
.“Community Bookshelf, #2"...a twice-yearly space where writers who have been published on Jerry Jazz Musician can share news about their recently authored books. This edition includes information about books published within the last six months or so…

Contributing Writers

Click the image to view the writers, poets and artists whose work has been published on Jerry Jazz Musician, and find links to their work

Coming Soon

An interview with Tad Richards, author of Jazz With a Beat: Small Group Swing, 1940 - 1960;  an interview with Laura Flam and Emily Sieu Liebowitz, authors of But Will You Love Me Tomorrow? An Oral History of the 60's Girl Groups;  a new collection of jazz poetry; a collection of jazz haiku; a new Jazz History Quiz; short fiction; poetry; photography; interviews; playlists; and lots more in the works...

Interview Archive

Eubie Blake
Click to view the complete 22 year archive of Jerry Jazz Musician interviews, including those recently published with Richard Carlin and Ken Bloom on Eubie Blake (pictured); Richard Brent Turner on jazz and Islam; Alyn Shipton on the art of jazz; Shawn Levy on the original queens of standup comedy; Travis Atria on the expatriate trumpeter Arthur Briggs; Kitt Shapiro on her life with her mother, Eartha Kitt; Will Friedwald on Nat King Cole; Wayne Enstice on the drummer Dottie Dodgion; the drummer Joe La Barbera on Bill Evans; Philip Clark on Dave Brubeck; Nicholas Buccola on James Baldwin and William F. Buckley; Ricky Riccardi on Louis Armstrong; Dan Morgenstern and Christian Sands on Erroll Garner; Maria Golia on Ornette Coleman.

Site Archive