Chet Baker “I get Chet” (1955-6)

Track Selection 1: Alone Together (Schwartz)

Track Selection 2: Tasty Pudding (Cohn)


Chet Baker (tp) Raymond Fol (p) Benoit Quersin (b) Jean-Louis Viale (d) add Bobby Jaspar (ts) on “Tasty Pudding”,  recorded Paris, France, November 1955 to February 1956


In an earlier post I set various interpretations of “Alone Together” head to head in a Hank Mobley/Pepper Adams/ Grant Green Smack Down, and someone posted in they thought the finest was Chet Bakers. So, “here’s one I prepared earlier later”

This is my first Chet Baker album and I can begin to appreciate his legendary status, though by the time this was recorded in the mid Fifties he was regarded by some as a spent force, such is the cruelty of those with a constant craving for new talent. Chet’s trumpet here is smooth, delicate, vulnerable, perhaps lacking the fire of youth, but aged like a smooth single malt.

Late 1955/ early 1956 found Chet Baker recording in Europe: France, Denmark, Italy and West Germany, with a variety of European musicians. This set was recorded for Barclay Records, the label created by the legendary French music entrepreneur Eddie Barclay ( real name Edouard Ruault)

Bobby Jaspar is a name I know but have never sat to listen to. His contribution on tenor is sparse but elegant, a model of economy and perfect placement of the fewest of notes, maintaining the mood of the piece, remembering he is a guest at the recording.

Vinyl: UK original release Felsted release (1956) Recordings made for Barclay (France) BLP 84042

At last a record that deserves the overused adjective “Rare!!” Pressed by Decca, by the looks of the Matrix code in the run out. Which explains the beautiful vibrant pressing. DeccaNuuMaaldenYeah!.

Pictured right, Burlington Road, New Malden in 1955, home to the Decca pressing plant in this south west London suburb of New Malden. Not exactly New Jersey.

Confessors Corner

Time for confession. There is no way I could afford this record were it not for a serious flaw in the cover. It is torn, badly torn. The awful truth is  on the right – click on thumbnail, but stand well clear of fragile objects. It is not a pretty sight, unlike the lady – who must now be in her mid seventies, but hasn’t aged a minute on that cover. Every batchelor pad’s dream accessory, the sort of girl the front seat of a sports car was designed for. Finely upholstered.

The tear is near-impossible to disguise as it occurs in the transition between the graduated spotlit wall behind the model and her shadow cast on the wall. In real life its down to Sellotape inside the jacket.

Felsted are incredibly rare. Guys who have worked  in record stores all their lives say they know of the name Felsted but have never seen one in the flesh, and thousands of records pass through their hands every day.The most famous Felsted is the alternate score to Freddie Redd’s Music from the Connection, featuring Jackie Mclean’s understudy, Tina Brooks. That sells for many thousands of pounds if and when it ever it comes to market.

When I saw this in a London store I knew I had to have it.

 ” ‘xcuse me, mate, the cover on this one is torn. Have you got another?”.

Hollow laugh.

Put me down for the next nice copy that comes in.

Sure, we’ll call you.

3 thoughts on “Chet Baker “I get Chet” (1955-6)

  1. LJC, So, it has taken a cheesecake cover (admittedly a great one) to coax you to buy your first CA record?

    What — no classic quartet with Mulligan?

    No cheap — but glorious — comps of Chet playing _and_ singing, such as ‘The Best of Chet Baker Sings’, on Boplicity? It has all the greats including Let’s Get Lost….

    Now remember, when I commend Chet’s singing this shouldn’t be taken lightly: it comes from someone who generally abhors singing and who recently purged his record collection of everything that (a) wasn’t jazz and (b) included a voice — including Billie Holiday — and felt it to be nothing but a release.

    But somehow that fragile, swinging ultra-cool voice of CB is just a little different.

    Oddly enough, this weekend I bought SILENCE, CB with Charlie Haden, the Italian pianist Enrico Pieranunzi, and Billy HIggins on drums. Released on Soul Note in 1987 (I think it was): Chet didn’t live to see it issued. It isn’t a record that is ever going to set the world on fire with its innovation, but as a fine, late work from Chet it is very moving. Original Soul Notes are oddly hard to find but it has been reissued by Get Back and is currently available in a very good quality pressing.

    • Soul Note are great – Italian label – I have some Andrew Hill on Soul Note and they are very nice pressings. I will look out for that Haden record.

      Singing totally fails to float my boat. I have an unexpected Jazz man singing track – Zoot Sims, and he is passable in a quirky way, but what next, Zoot ties his shoe laces? There are millions of singers, but not many great tenor sax players.

      Ah, the “cheesecake” cover. Of course it had no influence on me, except the track selection “Tasty Pudding”

  2. Simply beautiful. For one reason or another, I seem to like Chet’s European recordings more than his American recordings. Maybe he was more at ease over here. Anyway, another great collaboration between Chet and Bobby Jaspar can be heard on ‘Chet Is Back’, which was the album he recorded after he was released from prison in Italy in the early 1960s.

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