Chet Baker Plays The Best Of Lerner And Loewe

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Plays The Best Of Lerner And Loewe

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  • With a Triple Plus (A+++) side one and an excellent Double Plus (A++) side two, this copy is one of the BEST we have ever heard
  • Big, rich, smooth, open, natural, with plenty of tight bass – what’s not to like? This copy is killin’ it
  • Some of the best jazz guys of the day back up Chet on this one: Zoot Sims, Pepper Adams, Bill Evans, Herbie Mann and more
  • “…the timelessness of the melodies, coupled with the assembled backing aggregate, make Chet Baker Plays the Best of Lerner and Loewe (1959) a memorable concept album.”

This is a wonderful Chet Baker record that doesn’t seem to be getting the respect it deserves in the wider jazz world. You may just like it every bit as much as the Chet album, and that is one helluva record to compare any album to, in our estimation about as good as it gets in most respects.  

Finding good Chet Baker records is like finding hen’s teeth these days. The albums he did for Pacific Jazz in the ’50s can be wonderful but few have survived in audiophile playing condition. The Mariachi Brass albums are as awful as everyone says — we know, we’ve played them too.

The Old Paradigm, Not Really a Paradigm At All

Both sides here are Tubey Magical, rich, open, spacious and tonally correct. We’ve never heard the record sound better than in our most recent shootout, and that’s coming from someone who’s been playing the album since it was first reissued in the ’80s.

I used to sell these very records in the ’90s — we retailed them for ten bucks back then — but we had no clue just how good they could be back in those days. We couldn’t clean them right, or even play them right, and it would never have occurred to us to listen to a big pile of them one after another in order to pick out the best sounding copies.

The Players and Personnel

Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone – Zoot Sims 
Baritone Saxophone – Pepper Adams 
Bass – Earl May 
Drums – Clifford Jarvis
Flute – Herbie Mann 
Piano – Bill Evans (tracks: A1, B2 to B4), 
Piano – Bob Corwin (tracks: A2 to A4, B1)

Producer – Orrin Keepnews 
Engineer – Roy Friedman

Vinyl Condition

Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)

Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of later pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don’t have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful originals.

If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that’s certainly your prerogative, but we can’t imagine losing what’s good about this music — the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight — just to hear it with less background noise.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

I’ve Grown Accustomed To Your Face 
I Could Have Danced All Night 
The Heather On The Hill 
On The Street Where You Live

Side Two

Almost Like Being In Love 
Thank Heaven For Little Girls 
I Talk To The Trees 
Show Me

AMG Review

This is one of the last Chet Baker (trumpet) long players recorded in the States prior to the artist relocating to Europe in the early ’60s. Likewise, the eight-tune collection was the final effort issued during his brief association with the Riverside Records imprint.

The project was undoubtedly spurred on by the overwhelming success of the Shelly Manne-led combo that interpreted titles taken from the score to My Fair Lady (1956). In addition to becoming an instant classic, Manne’s LP was also among of the best-selling jazz platters of all time.

While Baker and crew may have gained their inspiration from Manne, these readings are comparatively understated. That said, the timelessness of the melodies, coupled with the assembled backing aggregate, make Chet Baker Plays the Best of Lerner and Loewe (1959) a memorable concept album.